BSISD joins other districts in questioning TAKS, STAAR

Big Spring public school trustees have joined hundreds of their colleagues across Texas in protesting the emphasis state officials place on high stakes testing.Thursday, the Big Spring Independent School District board of trustees unanimously approved a resolution calling upon state legislators to re-evaluate the place tests such as the TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) and STAAR (State of Texas Academic Assessment and Readiness) have in determining student success and college readiness.The BSISD board joins 443 other such bodies across Texas which have signed off on the resolution.“We are calling on our legislators to re-examine the accountability system in public schools,” BSISD Superintendent Steven Saldivar said. “We're also showing that we are willing to band together … to show both unity and to work with our legislators to come up with solutions.”Trustee Ken McIntosh said tests such as TAKS or STAAR are “a perversion” of their original intent, which was to gauge student academic progress and readiness for college.“I've come to the conclusion that neither TAKS or STAAR reflect a student's readiness for college,” McIntosh said. “Instead, all they do is compare students to students. They are a perversion of what they were originally intended to accomplish.”Trustee Irene Rodriguez said it was vital that local school districts start having a bigger say in students' education.“”We've been standing by and letting the state tell us what to do,” Rodriguez said. “It's time we banded together (with other school districts) and find a solution to the problem.”Saldivar said support for change is coming from virtually all ends of the educational spectrum.“I've seen the movement picking up steam,” he said. “There are a lot of respected school people who are speaking up, and when those people start speaking up, legislators start listening.”In other business, trustees approved:• The hiring of 21 new administrators and teachers for the coming school year.• Bids for demolition of Washington and Marcy elementary campuses.• The purchase of a small plot of land south of the Washington campus which will be used to expand the bus lanes at the school.