?Accountability? Fails Latinos




K-12 Testing

Leaving Children Behind: How “Texas-Style” Accountability Fails Latino Youth should lay to rest any remaining illusions that the high-stakes, test-based accountability program that helped propel Texas Gov. George W. Bush to the White House has any value from a civil rights or educational reform perspective, particularly for minority children.

Edited by University of Texas associate professor Angela Valenzuela, the book marshalls 300 pages of evidence on the damaging consequences and fraudulent claims underlying the “Texas miracle.” In compelling prose, the authors present data that counters the myths propounded by President Bush, former Secretary of Education Rod Paige, and their supporters.

As Dr. Valenzuela concludes, “The evidence and arguments in this volume make clear that to the degree that states attach high-stakes consequences to tests for children, schools, and districts, they are likely to reproduce the uneven, unjust, and unnecessary educational outcomes we have documented in Texas.” She calls for replacing the test-based system with one similar to the multiple-measures plan proposed by the Massachusetts Coalition for Authentic Reform in Education (CARE). She proposes expanding that plan so as to better serve cultural minority students.

The book also discusses the nearly-successful effort to roll-back the high-stakes testing requirements. It analyzes divisions within the Latino community and problems with how some opponents of high-stakes testing pursued their goal.

The publisher, SUNY Press has given permission for FairTest to post most of Valenzuela’s introductory chapter on our website, at http://www.fairtest.org/arn/Valenzuela_Ch1_edited.pdf. The book is $24.95 in paperback.

• See “Retention Hurts Minority Children,” a web only Examiner story based on Leaving Children Behind at www.fairtest.org/k12toc.htm.

• The CARE plan is at www.fairtest.org/care/accountability.html

• Evidence dissecting the Texas education fraud has been covered in previous issues of the Examiner, including Fall 2002, Spring 2002, Fall 1999, at www.fairtest.org/k12toc.htm.