Photo by Kevin Stich
Austin ISD joined the list of Texas school district to speak out against high-stakes testing for students.
At its April 23 meeting, AISD’s board of trustees unanimously approved a resolution asking the state Legislature to re-examine public school accountability and develop a system that more accurately reflects what students know. That system would enhance teachers’ roles as leaders and instructional guides, as well as instill a sense of inquiry and a love of learning in students.
High-stakes testing has been on the minds of the Austin education community lately.
In recent weeks, students took the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness exam for the first time. This year, Texas schools are transitioning from the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test to the STAAR exam. State education officials have said that for this year alone, STAAR test results would not count for 15 percent of students’ final class grades.
At the meeting, AISD Board President Mark Williams said the district needed to balance wanting higher levels of achievement with creating a rich learning experience for every child.
AISD’s resolution is similar to a model Texas Association of School Administrators resolution that takes a harder line on the issue.
Williams said more than 250 school boards have adopted the TASA resolution or some variation of it.
The board’s vote followed several passionate condemnations of high stakes standardized testing during citizens communication. Speakers opposed the rote memorization, stifled creative learning and stressful cramming associated with such testing.
Kealing Middle School student Callier Creadle said that even if the board did not listen to parents and teachers, it should listen to students, “the reason you’re here today,” and vote to adopt the resolution.
Metz elementary principal
The Austin school board appointed five principals for the 2012–13 school year.
Among them, Bryan Miller was named the new principal of Eastside Memorial High School, and Martha Castillo became principal of Metz Elementary School.
During citizens communication, several Metz parents voiced their support for Associate Principal Rogelio Neira to become principal.
Speaking through an interpreter, Spanish-speaking residents said Neira’s decade of experience shows his leadership, and he works well with the Hispanic community.
One speaker singled out Trustee Sam Guzman, asking him to “listen to your community and support us.”
The board went into executive session to discuss the personnel matter. When it returned, it appointed Castillo principal by an 8–0 vote.
Fiscal year 2013 budget
The board held a public hearing on the FY 2013 budget and possible tax rate.
The proposed FY 2013 tax rate will remain the same, at $1.242 per $100 of assessed property value. Information on the 2013 proposed budget can be found at www.austinisd.org/budget.
IDEA Public Schools
Eastside students, parents and those affiliated with Occupy Austin continue to voice their displeasure with the board’s Dec. 19 decision to partner with IDEA Public Schools to create an in-district charter.
Speakers questioned IDEA Allan’s ability to recruit Eastside students and said that by advertising to the larger community, it would become a magnet school that siphons off top students.
EMHS student Elijah Cofield said he was tired of attending board meetings and feeling as though what is said does not matter to the board.
“What are you planning to do for the next three years to be help Eastside Memorial be successful?” he asked.
Several speakers read letters they said were from students, parents and educators.