Senate education proposals: Rejected in the past, for good reason

Louis Malfaro, president of the 65,000-member Texas branch of the American Federation of Teachers, commented today on education proposals from Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, Senate Education Committee Chair Larry Taylor and other senators:

The proposals outlined today would simply recycle bad ideas that previous legislatures have rejected with good cause.

While Texans have rebelled against the misuse of standardized testing, the answer from some in the Senate is to put even more emphasis on that misuse by using it to facilitate the turnover of neighborhood schools to charter school chains with a proposal—carrying a misleading name–for “opportunity school districts.” The “parent trigger” is yet another vehicle for privatizing public education and actually reduces community control of our schools. And assigning our campuses A-F ratings serves to further stigmatize struggling schools that need resources, not labels.

These senators are focusing on policy paths proven to do nothing to help student achievement or provide the support our campuses need to be a foundation for their local communities to thrive.

We urge lawmakers instead to try a proven, cost-effective approach to school improvement—the Community Schools model. This “all hands on deck” approach pulls together parents, faculty and staff, and community partners in designing and implementing their own, home-grown plan for improving their neighborhood school, turning it into a community hub for coordinated educational, health, and social services to students and their families.