Researchers find that policies like grading schools based on academic performance measured by state assessments motivates cheating, teaching to the test, costly teacher and principal turnover, and a sense of “forced failure” in low-income communities. So why enact a system that has such harmful effects?
Distrust leads families to not send children to school, to volunteer or to interact with educators. Immigration enforcement in schools ultimately affects both citizen and undocumented families alike, as the increased likelihood of deportation and family separation forces an especially vulnerable population of children to deal with pervasive fear and uncertainty.
The Texas Education Agency and students in special education across the state cannot afford any more disruption and failure. It is time for the agency to capitalize on whatever assets and opportunities it has at its disposal, and do so in a transparent, community-engaged process that rebuilds trust and a shared commitment with families to best serve all students.
While many Americans living in Texas and across the country have concerns about the agenda of the incoming Trump administration, children living in El Paso and along the U.S.-Mexico border have perhaps the most pressing and heartbreaking questions one could imagine.
I hope each teacher and parent recognizes the responsibility to cultivate our future generation of leaders and citizens and that they are not afraid to step away from testing to talk about the social and political issues that impact our society.