Ashby takes aim at school tests


Recently, record low temperatures were set in cities and counties all across the state as Winter Storm Inga blew ice and snow into Texas.
I know, unfortunately, that in most counties in our region there were automobile accidents reported that were a direct result of someone's failure not to drop their speed and drive to the conditions of the roadways. Life is precious, so please slow down and drive carefully, especially when the mercury drops below freezing.
Here's the latest update from your State Capitol in Austin. . .

Testing and Civics
Every year legislators, teachers, parents, and students question the burdensome, high-stakes testing that takes place in Texas public schools. It's one of the issues I hear most about across our district.
During my time in office, I have been an advocate for reducing the emphasis placed on end-of-course exams, so that our educators can focus on content mastery and not teach towards passing a single over-weighted test.
In fact, in the most recent session, I worked with my House colleagues on a testing reform bill that would have drastically decreased the number of end of course exams required for students, but also added more relevant subject matter, such as basic civics education, to items that would be tested.
Unfortunately, the bill did not make it out of the Senate.
Specifically, this comprehensive testing bill contained a provision that would have ensured that students received a solid, thorough education on the most critical events, dates, and components of United States history.
As a growing number of states have done, it would have replaced the existing U.S. History end-of-course exam with the civics test administered to people applying for citizenship in our great country. After the bill's nearly unanimous passage in the House, it was clear that reigning in some of the existing high-stakes tests and ensuring our young people have a firm grasp on our country's rich history, is an area that all members of the Legislature agree on.
Having listened to countless numbers of constituents on this topic, I firmly believe the Texas Legislature must continue to build on the ground that has been broken with respect to this issue. As a starting point, we should recognize that testing is necessary, but not to the extent that one end of year, be-all end-all test is designed to tell the whole story about student achievement.

The mobile office is on the road for the month of January and looks forward to seeing you in the following location, on the following date: Jan. 24 at the San Augustine County Courthouse in San Augustine from 9-11 a.m.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact our office if we can help you in any way. Our district office may be reached at (936) 634-2762, or you can call my Capitol office at (512) 463-0508.
Trent Ashby represents District 57, which includes Madison County, in the Texas Legislature.