Failing students mean failing businesses

What do you expect from public school assessments? Should they determine how well the students are learning, or rank schools in comparison with others? Should the standards get tougher over time, or should they remain the same for generations? Lastly, should the assessments help schools self-evaluate, or allow taxpayers to demand accountability?

As employers complain more and more about the lack of qualified workers and the potential harm to the economy, how we do quality control on public education becomes increasingly important. The Texas Education Agency released school assessment results earlier this month that showed 84.9 percent of Texas schools either met the state’s standard, or an alternative, based on four criteria: student achievement, student progress, closing performance gaps and post-secondary readiness. Only 8.7 percent of schools failed, the rest were not rated.

The Texas Association of Business advocacy group responded with a billboard on Interstate 35 in downtown Austin that read: “THE STATE SAYS 85% OF TEXAS SCHOOLS MEETING STANDARDS. ARE THEY MEETING YOURS?”

Students in a state with such a thriving economy should be doing better, but it's hard to fix a problem when you can't agree what it is. Politicians are quick to blame teachers, when they have themselves to blame.
August 22, 2014
Houston Chronicle