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Section A: General News


Stockdale ISD joins 46 schools to pass resolution




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Wilson County News
March 21, 2012 | 1,385 views | Post a comment

STOCKDALE -- The Stockdale Independent School District (ISD) board of trustees has joined the Poth ISD and 45 other school districts in passing a resolution concerning the over-reliance on statewide standardized tests, during its March 12 meeting. The controversy centers on the change from the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) to the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) exams.

According to Stockdale ISD Superintendent Paul Darilek after the meeting, the resolution supports Robert Scott, commissioner of education, who has said that the high-stakes testing has become “a perversion of its original intent.”

Darilek said a Feb. 27 article in The Dallas Morning News by Jeffrey Weiss highlights the issue well.

According to the article, “The back-and-forth is happening while schools are getting ready for the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness exams (STAAR) to replace the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS). The first STAAR tests will be rolled out next month.

“STAAR retains what the superintendents say is a flawed framework: One-day high-stakes tests that don’t reflect a lot of what happens in a school and largely determine the ratings for schools and districts -- with those all-important ratings disproportionately affected by a relatively few low-performing students.”

The Texas Association of School Administrators website offers text for a resolution that the school districts can adopt.

Poth ISD recently adopted such a resolution, asking the Texas Legislature to re-examine the public school accountability system that “more accurately reflects what students know, appreciate and can do in terms of rigorous standards essential to their success, enhances the role of teachers as designers, guides to instruction and leaders, and nurtures the sense of inquiry and love of learning in all students.”

Also related to the STAAR testing, the board voted to delay or suspend the 15-percent “Passing Standard” rule for this year for high school students taking the newly mandated end-of-course tests. Darilek explained that 15 percent of a student’s final grades will be comprised of the end-of-course results. Next year, the school district will have to include this in the students’ scores.

Darilek said the education commissioner is allowing districts to waive the 15-percent requirement for the 2011-12 school year. Darilek added that the STAAR exam will not be released until April. This includes data on the scores needed for passing.

Testing scores on a local level also were addressed during the meeting. High school Principal Sandra Lynn presented changes to the grading system.

Darilek said two years ago, the district policy lowered the 50/50 rule that allows educators to give grades from a low of 35 to a high of 100. The trustees, on March 12, approved changing the higher end to a cap not to exceed 103.

In yet another change, the trustees approved a return to a six-week grading period versus the present nine-week period, to begin next school year.

Darilek said this will give “more accountability to our kids ... and keep teachers more accountable.”

While a majority of the meeting dealt with education policy, the trustees also purchased a special education bus from another school district for $47,000. This will replace the current bus, which has high mileage and is in need of extensive repair. Darilek said the bus will meet the needs required, including a wheelchair ramp, tinted windows, and air conditioning. A new bus would have cost the district $53,000 more, Darilek said.

Accordingly, the trustees amended the budget to allow for the bus purchase, since it was not included in the original 2011-12 budget.

While this item was added to the budget, the school will save on voting expenses, since the May 2012 elections were canceled. Trustees Barry Osborne II and Pat Donsbach faced no opposition for Place 2 and Place 4, respectively, and will retain their seats on the board.
 

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