Flash Forward to May, 2015

The first senior class to be held accountable for passing the new End of Course/STAAR exams is preparing to graduate. The students look around and they are missing many of their classmates because they were not able to pass the tests to be able to graduate.

According to the 2010-11 State AEIS Report there were 354,139 eighth grade students across the state. That number dropped to 334,947 by test time in the spring of 2012. If you compare those numbers against the results released by TEA on June 8, 2012 here what it might look like.

Subject
Adjusted   Standard Rate (%)
Numbers
334,947
Difference
Final   Standard Rate (%)
Numbers
334,947
Advance   Academic Performance (%)
Numbers
334,947
Biology
87
291404
-45,543
41
137328
9
30145
Algebra   1
83
278006
-56,941
39
130629
17
56941
World   Geography
81
271307
-63,640
40
133979
13
43543
English   1-Reading
68
227764
-107,183
46
154076
8
26796
English   1-Writing
55
184221
-150,726
34
113882
3
10048

If a person really looks at these results in terms of students, then there is the potential of a minimum of 45,000 students that will not graduate from high school. That number is on the low end. It could be as bad as 150,000.

If we take a positive look at it by saying that half of those that did not meet the standard eventually meet that standard then we are still looking at a minimum of almost 23000 students up to a high of 75000.

I don’t know about you but if I were a state leader and someone told me that 23000 students weren’t going to graduate because they are required to pass a test, then I would be very alarmed. I would seriously question, “what is the real goal of our education system?” Not to mention that these are tests that most of our state leaders couldn’t pass.

According to the 2010-11 AEIS report the 82.7 percent of the high school graduate were on the recommended plan. By the spring of 2015, that number will drop significantly. Any number I throw out is strictly a guess but it could be somewhere in the 40%-60% range. The reason it will drop is because the minimum plan requires a student to meet the standard of fewer tests, 11 rather than 15.

This seems like a backward approach to progress. The numbers have to fall to an alarmingly low level before going up.

Does the State of Texas really need another 23,000 people without a high school diploma or without any job skills?

Maybe the state leaders should take the tests, all 15 of them. If they are unable to pass the tests then they should be discontinued.

David R. Taylor

25-year Teacher, Coach and Principal

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