This week our students are participating in another round of STAAR, End of Course and TAKS testing. The state of Texas has greatly increased the number of days that students are taking standardized tests in grades 3-12. Not only have the avalanche of new tests increased since the legislature met in 2011, but testing requirements now include multiple versions of the tests for various special education populations. In fact, the mandatory state testing in our schools is up from twenty-five days to forty-five days. That is almost a quarter of the time that students are in school during the year.
Last week our school board passed a resolution, along with many other school districts across Texas, asking the legislature to revisit all of the high stakes testing and its effect on students, teachers, and schools, when they meet again in January 2013. It is my hope that the legislature will consider what so many of us asked during the last biennium. If the state was going to make such drastic funding cuts to schools, the legislature should at least consider the financial burden that all this new testing is placing on public schools; and more importantly recognize that the time spent focused on testing would be better spent on teaching and learning. Texas has appropriately begun placing a greater emphasis on college readiness. I encourage parents and community members to contact your state elected officials and let them know about your concerns regarding the excessive amount of high stakes testing that is currently mandated.
Despite the reduction in funding and the difficulties of increased mandates from the state, our teachers, coaches, and staff continue to provide many opportunities for our students to learn and excel in areas beyond our state testing system. Extra-curricular activities and competitions are an important part of the Lexington student’s experience. The collaboration required, and the effort to excel, are key to developing a well rounded citizen and preparing our students for post high school success. I am very proud of Mackenzie Brown and Eric Mitchell who will be representing Lexington at the state tennis finals on Monday, April 30 and Tuesday, May 1st. Mackenzie and Eric achieved this great accomplishment, in addition to participating in many other academic and athletic events.
I am also thrilled to follow-up on my previous column on our High School students’ competitions at the Regional Academic UIL. All of our students did well. Two of our students will be going on to the state finals. Cody Church was awarded second place in Persuasive Speaking and Megan Sanders, a freshman, placed fourth in Accounting. Best of luck to Mackenzie, Eric, Cody, and Megan as they move on to represent Lexington.