PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

March 5, 2013

Bill targets 'teaching to test'

(Continued)

AUSTIN —

Most of all, HB 1423 would eliminate high-stakes testing as a graduation requirement — namely, the end-of-course (EOC) tests administered at the end of the school year. These tests comprise 15 percent of the student’s overall course grade.

Kerri Hays, who teaches journalism at Nederland High School, said HB 1423 would have a positive impact on her program. Because of the current “4 by 4” program in place, which requires students to take four years of each core subject, electives such as the one taught by Hays have suffered.

More kids are going to be able to take my classes,” she said. “Once they went to the 4 by 4 plan, kids were being more selective about what classes they could take. If you have a kid who’s in the honors band, then that’s a double block class. When they first start, they have four core classes they have to take, plus two for band, and that only leaves one class they can take. They have to either bump themselves down from a band that they deserve to be in so they can stay in an elective like journalism — or they have to choose not to be in journalism.”

The bill would also grant students the flexibility to take classes that are more applicable to their future plans, Hays said.

I’m not going to have the kids that generally need to have pre-calculus,” she said. “My kids generally are going to go into a more liberal arts designed class. So with that new field, they’ll be able to select classes that will help them more in college. And right now we have kids that are in welding and auto tech and things like cosmetology. We have to have people who can fix cars and weld and build, and I don’t think it’s right that we’re negating those people.

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