As the 83rd Legislative Session approaches, Texans are focusing on the issues surrounding high-stakes, standardized testing for elementary and secondary students. To better inform and engage parents, educators, legislators and advocates in discussion of these issues, the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin will host "Measuring Up: A Statewide Conversation on High-Stakes Testing and Accountability" on Sept. 24. The event is free and open to the public.
The forum will feature a roundtable of experts from state government, academia and the private and nonprofit sectors offering nonpartisan, evidence-based expertise on the policy options available to Texas. Panelists include:
- David Anthony of Raise Your Hand Texas and formerly of the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District
- Texas State Representative Jimmie Don Aycock
- Linda McNeil of Rice University
- Commissioner Tom Pauken from the Texas Workforce Commission
- Angela Valenzuela of The University of Texas at Austin
- Todd Williams of Commit! and formerly of Goldman Sachs
"As we get closer to the next state legislative session, we need to move beyond polarizing rhetoric surrounding how we test our students and consider the evidence and diverse perspectives on Texas' current approach to educating its students and measuring their performance," said Heinrich. "Despite sharing goals for closing achievement gaps for our students and preparing them for further education and workforce success, stakeholders disagree on how we can best reach those goals. The purpose of this forum is to bring together a broad range of stakeholders to discuss these very complex issues and to move toward new policy solutions in the coming year."
The forum will address issues of importance to parents, educators and legislators concerning the overall structure of the state's educational accountability system, including the STAAR program and its new End-of-Course exams.
"Currently students are required to pass roughly 12 standardized tests in order to graduate from high school in Texas," said Heinrich. "With the End-of-Course exams also potentially comprising 15 percent of a student's total grade, parents and educators alike are worried about the consequences these high stakes may have for our children's quality of education and future opportunities. This is an important time for all stakeholders to come to the table to reassess the focus and priorities of our education policies in Texas."
The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. The event will take place at the Lady Bird Johnson Auditorium located at 2315 Red River St. The roundtable discussion will begin at 7 p.m. and will be followed by an audience QandA session. To register, visit: http://measuringupforum.eventbrite.com.
The event is co-sponsored by the LBJ School's Center for Health and Social Policy, the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Education at The University of Texas at Austin. Other partners include the university's Texas Center for Education Policy, Institute for Urban Policy Research and Analysis and Center for Mexican American Studies.