Governor Abbott, Texas Legislature and Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath
United States of America

STAAR WAS BAD but is the Federally aligned Next Generation of Assessments and Accountability Worse?

The citizen drive to abolish the STAAR and end annual standardized testing in Texas has been in part a boon for the TEA, Texas State Board of Ed and the Texas Education Commissioner.

Commissioner Mike Morath and the handpicked Commission on Next Generation Assessment and Accountability have set the stage to look like knights in shining armor to teachers and kids around the State when they announce the conclusions of their Commission in September, as it pertains to assessment and accountability, aka testing and measurement.

Morath has said that Texas will move toward "real time," "any time" assessments of our teachers and kids in the classroom. Not only will these mini “monitoring” assessments build a profile of our children, they will be assessing emotional responses to stimuli in the classroom, not just academics. This will be too extensive to ensure that proper parental notification is given in advance.

In fact, this push for socio-emotional assessment will require that standards are in place for the students to meet certain socio-emotional mindsets as deemed acceptable by this consortium of government entities. An emotional profile will be established for your child, without your prior consent or knowledge. How does this work with the mental health services that have now been introduced into the school system? What potential state or federal agencies does this open your child up to for evaluation?

All of this "assessing" results in millions of metrics of data... where does the data go? who will see my child's data? to what entities can it be sold? who is responsible for storing and disseminating it? who is responsible for protecting it? how will it be protected? how will the profiles be used to educate my child? how will the profiles follow my child when he leaves the public school system? All of this data creates significant privacy concerns for our teachers and students, as well as establishes very subjective measurement of our teachers' performance.

Please see the petition below. We are calling upon Governor Abbott, who also personally appointed Commissioner Mike Morath, and the Texas Legislature, who established the Texas Commission on Next Generation Assessment and Accountability, to stop this compliance with federal government mandates and end this intrusion in our classrooms.

Tell these people that have been elected to act on our behalf to restore academics to the classroom and provide a sound, quality, public school education, to the millions of Texas students who have been constitutionally given this right.

Thanks for joining the fight!

Texas Constitution, Article 7, Section 1: SUPPORT AND MAINTENANCE OF SYSTEM OF PUBLIC FREE SCHOOLS. A general diffusion of knowledge being ESSENTIAL TO THE PRESERVATON OF THE LIBERTIES AND RIGHTS OF THE PEOPLE, it shall be the duty of the Legislature of the State to establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an EFFICIENT system of public free schools.

~~~~ For questions regarding the petition, contact Alice Linahan at alinahan@verizon.net or Dr. Patrick Huff, PhD at aphuff51@gmail.com or Steve Swanson, P.E. (inactive) at swanson@austin.rr.com ~~~~

Cease and Desist the Next Generation of Assessments and Accountability Commission Report

We call upon The Governor of Texas, State Board of Education, Commissioner of Education and other elected officials to take immediate action showing responsibility in the governance of education. It is urgent and critical for the future of our children and Texas.

The National Assessment Governing Board has announced plans to assess mindsets and other subjective, socio-emotional factors in the 2017 version of the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP).

In addition, the newly appointed Texas Commissioner of Education, Mike Morath, has recommended to the Next Generation of Assessments and Accountability Commission that Texas formally put non-cognitive character standards into the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).

Please refer to the letter penned by Liberty Counsel, an international legal, media and policy organization with an emphasis on religious liberties protected by the First Amendment. This letter was sent to several congressional committees, signed by eight national organizations, including Texas based Women On the Wall, and 69 state organizations in 29 different states. Here is a summary of those concerns according to Liberty Counsel Attorney Richard Mast, the author of the letter : (http://edlibertywatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Final-Ltr-NAEP-legal-and-privacy-concerns-06272016.pdf)

The NAEP is poised to violate federal law by collecting extremely sensitive psychological/socio-emotional data on children; it will do so in a necessarily subjective manner; it contains a substantial risk of exposing the subject children to possible negative consequences in their later schooling and employment careers, to the extent that even supporters of such assessments are concerned; and it will entrust extremely sensitive data to agencies that are no longer governed by serious privacy law and that have proven they cannot or will not keep personal student data secure.

These proposed changes constitute potential parental rights violations, and expose the children to a litany of harms in the present and in the future. Thus, any efforts to ask questions concerning mindsets and other socio-emotional parameters and to collect that data via the NAEP should be halted immediately.

Since 2001, the U.S. government has increasingly controlled our Texas education system.

• Federal grants and entitlement programs have come with strings attached.
• No Child Left Behind ("NCLB") legislation has moved more and more schools to a label of "failure," which is just wrong.
• Texas's waiver application for NCLB brought Common Core standards to our Texas TEKS and required teacher and principal evaluations to be tied to student test outcomes.

Now the TEA, its Commissioner of Education, the State Board of Education ("SBOE"), and the Texas legislature are prepared to implement the next phase of federal law, The Next Generation of Assessment and Accountability ("NextGen"). This new law will institute a new grading system of A-F to measure each subgroup of students, then give an overall grade to an entire school and school district. This can lead to loss of local control of our schools in as little as two years.

After 15 years of these federal mandates, many English and Math teachers now teach to the standardized tests. Many students suffer extreme anxiety from these tests, characterized as a form of child abuse by many psychiatrists. Parents do not understand this undue mental anguish placed on their children.

Also, many Texas students are not prepared for college or their careers after high school. Our students should not receive an inadequate education stemming from following federal policy. As parents and taxpayers, we demand better from our Texas officials.

Therefore, we, the undersigned Texas parents, taxpayers and educators, call upon the TEA, its Commissioner of Education and the SBOE to cancel all student accountability and assessment procedures currently planned. The NextGen Commission must be disbanded and not reassembled. Say "NO" to the federal government guidelines, "NO" to statewide standardized tests, and "NO" to a degrading A-F accountability system, until we the people can determine a new path for the students of Texas. We call upon on all Texas school board members and school boards to recommit to their oath of office and publicly state their commitment to fulfilling their responsibilities for governance in Chapter 11 of Texas’ own Education Code (TEC).

We will not accept continued inferior instruction in the classroom and flawed accountability when the teachers of Texas can offer so much more.

It's time for Texas to become a leader in the governance of education through obeying its own laws for public-based leadership and action in serving and saving Texas' children and students. Stop the harm to our children. We the people demand restoring "public" to public education.

The parents and taxpayers of the community that serves each individual school will serve as the accountability instrument represented through their elected Board of Trustees who are under oath to fulfill their responsibilities to provide an education of equal opportunity at success in life to the students in their local school district.

Hear our pleas: restore academics to the classroom and restore the opportunity for our kids to be well educated. Cease and desist the roll out of the Next Generation Assessment and Accountability System that will harm our teachers and students throughout the State.

GoPetition respects your privacy.

The Cease and Desist the Next Generation of Assessments and Accountability Commission Report petition to Governor Abbott, Texas Legislature and Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath was written by Texas Parents & Taxpayers and is in the category Education at GoPetition.