CRT and the Culture Wars
CRT is just the latest culture war issue. The state of Texas determines what is taught in public schools. Those who claim CRT is in K-12 education are trying to make things that are widely supported by the corporate world (diversity, equity, and inclusion) sound evil. CRT is being redefined to include anything to do with SEL, diversity, inclusion, and sexual orientation. Those who warn about CRT do not want to do anything about racism and injustice.
The campaign against CRT has led to attempts to ban books. While we believe that parents have a right to be made aware of books that high school students might read with explicit content, some parents want to make decisions for all parents by banning books that have been approved by Texas Education Agency and vetted by librarians and teachers. This is unacceptable.
- Parents already have the right in Texas to opt THEIR children out of assignments.
- The district already has a process in place to review books when a formal complaint is made. Not a single formal complaint was made in GCISD until a school board candidate stated this fact, many months after the vitriol started at board meetings.
- Removing books from the library can violate students' First Amendment rights according to a 1982 Supreme Court decision.
- Some of the books parents have complained about are covered on the AP exam.
Misinformation about GCISD Test Scores
There is a lot of bad information going around about GCISD STAAR test results, with some people claiming that a large percentage of students are not passing.
- In almost all grades, over 95% of GCISD students meet or exceed expectations on the STAAR. In two grades, for two subjects, that number is slightly lower but still well over 75%.
- 10% of GCISD students are Englich langiage learners, and 82% passed the English/Reading STAAR test.
- GCISD is ranked as a top 1% school district in the state and a top 10% district in the nation.
That said, the STAAR test results are not a good measure of a student's mastery of concepts or a good measure of the quality of the district or teacher quality. According to the article STAAR testing can make parents less informed about a student’s progress:
- STAAR is designed to compare student groups from across the state.
- STAAR is worse than useless for looking at individual students. If you use the data to draw conclusions about individual student learning, you’ll draw false conclusions about what that student has learned.
- As both the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and ETS have repeatedly stated, the test questions are not designed to measure mastery of academic concepts. While each question is aligned with a specific Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) student expectation, it is not designed to judge the extent of a particular student’s learning.
- As W. James Popham, an international expert on assessment and accountability and former president of the American Educational Research Association, points out in his book “Transformative Assessment,” these tests are comparative, and not intended to determine student success or quality of teaching.
You can also read a little about the history of testing in GCISD here.