Cultural Revolutions

The Education Cartel

The education cartel in Texas, and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) in particular, have raised the bureaucratic art to new heights by congratulating themselves for failing to attain their mediocre objectives. Consider a report, released by the Tax Research Association of Houston and Harris County and the Acres Home Chamber of Commerce, on the credibility of the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS), which measures the achievement levels of public school students.

It is bad enough that the standards tested are minimal, that many non-achievers are excluded from the findings, that teachers are said to "teach the TAAS," and that some schools (the Austin public schools, for instance), alter the test scores. Now this research report tells us that the recent rise in TAAS scores is the result of the gradual lowering of the standards of the test over the past three years. Furthermore, the report reveals, the TAAS generally does not test whether a student meets even the minimum standards of attainment for his grade level. Instead, the reading, math, and algebra sections of the TAAS test below grade level.

The Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), an English and language arts test, was found deficient in defining the reading proficiency expected at each grade level. This same criticism was raised by conservatives on the Texas State Board of Education before the report was released. For their troubles, these conservatives...

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