Teachers Group says Testing Is Out of Control

A Texas teacher's group is calling for the reform of the state's testing system, calling the "TAKS" test a detriment that works against a well-rounded education. Houston Public Radio's Jack Williams reports.

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The Texas Federation of Teachers says standardized testing is out of control across the state and here in Houston, dominating curriculam and turning students into test-taking machines. Linda Bridge's is the organization's president.

"It has become so regimented, that the testing is really driving everything that happens and it's really time to bring some sanity back to the whole testing regiman in the state."

Because TAKS test results often determine the job futures of teachers and principals, Houston Federal of Teacher's president Gayle Fallon says students are bombarded with practice tests aimed at helping them do well on the real test.

"The benchmark testing becomes the curriculum and there's no time for anything else. I'd say in some of our campuses in Houston, 90-percent of their time is spent on TAKS."

The teacher's organizations want the state to reform the test process and put more emphisis on the actual curriculum and not so much on the TAKS test. The Houston School District's Terry Abbott says tests are part of an important process.

"I think it's a mistake to criticize the need for accountability. A long time ago in this state and in this country we decided that public schools must be accountable for whether children learn. We cannot go back to the bad old days when schools are not held accountable."

Abbott says HISD has safeguards in place to prevent teachers from teaching specifically to the test and encourages them to teach the curriculum and the test scores will take care of themselves.

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