As Rick Perry returns from his fundraising vacation in California this weekend, he's welcomed home by harsh comments from a key ally.
The Austin-American Statesman reported today that Texas Association of Business President Bill Hammond told a Senate Economic Development Committee that Rick Perry's TEA is failing to make schools accountable.
Campaign spokesperson Katy Bacon said, "Business owners across Texas know that the state's economic future depends on the students being educated today, but Perry continues to play politics with students, using inflated school ratings, false dropout rates and political distractions to cover up for his own failures. Instead of working on improving schools, Part-Time Perry jets off for a week of self-promotion in fancy California hotels."
"Perry is content to have Texas ranked 49th among all states in the percentage of adults with a high school diploma, content to have Texas a national leader in minimum wage jobs instead of high wage jobs. We need a governor who will prepare Texans with the skills and training they need for the jobs of the future," said Bacon.
From the Austin-American Statesman:
During a discussion of college readiness, Hammond noted that 60 percent of students who enroll in community college need remedial coursework, meaning they are not ready for college-level work.
Hammond told the committee, "We need an accountability system that is based on career or college ready. You, being the Legislature, have enacted into law a system that will do that, but the question to me is, what is the agency going to do with that statute? In my view we have a dishonest accountability system today which says that somewhere between 60 and, I understand by rumor, that up to 72 percent of the campuses in Texas will be rated exemplary or recognized at a time when 60 percent of the kids who graduate have to take remedial courses. Something is completely out of sync there. I think the starting point would be an honest accountability system. I would urge the Legislature to watch more vigilantly what the agency is doing with regard to the new system and make sure that they're doing it right and at a minimum, be honest about where we are. What percentage of kids in the classroom are on track to graduate from high school career or college ready? We need that information and the standard needs to be real. The problem is the TAKS test, just to pass the TAKS test, actually is below grade level. The commended level is more or less grade level."
The education agency has come under significant criticism recently for its use of the Texas Projection Measure, which attempts to give schools credit in the state's accountability system if students are projected to pass state tests in the subsequent year. Houston Superintendent Terry Grier told the Houston Chronicle earlier this week, "The TPM was never designed to be used in the way the state is using it."
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