AUSTIN (June 27, 2012)--A coalition of top Texas business leaders said Wednesday it's worried that a public backlash against standardized testing could hurt the state's efforts to hold public schools more accountable.
At a news conference Wednesday the Texas Coalition for a Competitive Workforce blamed teachers and school administrators for "demonizing" standardized testing, and panicking parents.
Coalition leaders said they would oppose increasing future state education funding if standardized tests are weakened.
“What we see here are school districts wanting more money without having a way to measure whether that investment is working or not,” Bill Hammond, TAB president and CEO said in a press release Wednesday.
“We must ensure the state has an effective way to measure whether increased investment in education is working, and you can’t do that without a strong accountability system.”
“We oppose this one-way street towards higher funding vigorously. Our groups support action in the court and the legislature to require greater efficiency and productivity in our public education system,” Hammond said.
“Only after fiscal efficiency is improved and our commitment to accountability is reaffirmed can we begin to discuss an appropriate level of funding for public schools.”
The group accused education leaders of demanding that Texas water down its accountability system while also seeking more state funding for schools.
“We feel that school districts shouldn’t expect taxpayers to fund a system without knowing that it is as efficient as possible and that the system is held accountable for its results,” Hammond said.
The news conference Wednesday comes after the new STAAR standardized testing system was rolled out and roundly criticized by some superintendents, parents' groups and lawmakers.
The Texas Legislature last cut about $5.4 billion from school funding last year, even though enrollment increases every year.
The coalition was formed in October 2008 “to encourage focus on career and college readiness in public schools, improved career technology education and expanded teacher incentives” to better prepare students for life after high school, according to a press release announcing the formation.
The coalition called for an accountability system based on progress in preparing for career or college.