HB5, eliminating much of the absurd testing touted by Belo Expectations, is sitting on Governor Rick Perry’s desk, awaiting his signature. Apparently the pressure brought by Bill McKenzie, Sandy Kress, Bill Hammond, and others has hit its mark. Word is, Perry may veto HB5.
TEA Commissioner Williams has posted the results of endless testing for the first ninth grade cohort, and they are making strides toward passing their ninth grade tests as they enter their junior year. Commissioner Williams has conveniently forgotten to segment the results for low income Texas high school students who now have a 50% chance of graduating on time, even if they stay the course on improving. And no one has computed the cost of adding another year of high school to the cost of graduation.
Until HB5 becomes law, Dallas ISD can make no plans for spending an extra $8 million in south and west Dallas.
If Perry refuses to sign HB5, every dime in Dallas ISD will be spent on remediating to eternity the 50% of low income high school students who have not passed the end-of-course tests currently required. If Perry adds an English III and Algebra II requirement, the end result will be the same; 50% of students won’t walk across a stage with their original ninth grade friends.
So Belo can’t have it both ways.
The repercussions to the Dallas ISD budget will be draconian. In order to fund remediation for both current ninth graders and tenth graders who face six or more years of high school in order to meet requirements for more testing, other budget items will be thrown overboard.
More trainers for high schools? Gone.
More arts supplies? Gone.
More money for west and south Dallas? Forget about it.
Layers and more layers of administrators, trustees? Better worry about the money for summer school and teachers.
Miles’ current budget allows high school and middle school classes to grow in size to fund more testing by Pearson of every class, K-12. In addition, no one on Team Miles has bothered to compute the increase in class sizes that will result from moving from a block schedule at the comprehensive high schools to having students meet all their classes daily. Miles is cutting teachers to fund his boondoggle that was supposed to be his ticket to the White House by allowing class size to slowly meander toward more than 40 students in core academic and 50 students in high school electives.
We need to thank Bill McKenzie and Mike Morath for their consistent worship of standardized tests. There is more than enough research to indicate these tests don’t improve achievement, but Morath and McKenzie are consistent in their faith in the higher power of these tests.