The following is the President’s Message from the winter 2015 issue of INSIGHT, the professional journal of the Texas Association of School Administrators:
At times, it seems like public education is being set up to look bad … that others are questioning our values, our accomplishments, and our purpose. We know we live in a fish bowl. Someone taps on our glass, and it sends us scattering. While we live in a world that criticizes what we do, we must realize that there are real measures of hope and support.
As we gather support for the rest of the school year, there are true opportunities before us. While we may sometimes feel discouraged by the lack of state support, increased standards, decreased funding, and lack of understanding, we are making great strides in public education.
The following shows evidence of support for public education:
We are at the table to discuss accountability. The work of the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium has expanded. Charged to inform state leaders concerning methods for transforming public schools by improving learning through innovative, next-generation learning standards and assessment and accountability systems, the number of districts in the Consortium was increased from 20 to 30 (HB 18).
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick appointed Kim Alexander, superintendent of Roscoe Collegiate ISD, a Consortium district, to be part of the Texas Commission on Next-Generation Assessments and Accountability. This committee is charged with developing and making recommendations for student assessment and accountability and will consider the Consortium’s recommendations (HB 2804).
The TEKS are to be reviewed. The State Board of Education will review the essential knowledge and skills of each subject, with the exclusion of math, with the intent of narrowing the content and scope of standards and skills (SB 313).
State assessments are to be reviewed. Each assessment adopted or developed by the state must be determined to be valid and reliable by an independent entity (HB 743).
There are strong pro-education groups. Many groups support our work and interest in transforming public education: Raise Your Hand Texas, Texans Advocating for Meaningful Student Assessment, Friends of Texas Public Schools, and many more.
As members of TASA, we can’t lose sight of the control and influence we have. Be heartened by the genuine support and encouragement that exists for public education and nurture that support. Be strong and confident — not defensive — in wielding the power of influence, so that when we speak, others listen. We have the responsibility to share our story, strengthen our support systems, and uphold our cause. We must recognize the gains in turning the tide, because what we do matters for the future of Texans.
Karen G. Rue, TASA President