Thousands Gather for School Reform Rally

This weekend thousands of parents and teachers will gather in Austin for the Save Texas Schools rally. The event highlights how parents are frustrated with high-stakes testing and are flexing their political muscle.

Bright and early at seven this morning, Ruth Kravetz got on a bus to Austin. She's joining Diane Ravitch the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education, former Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott and thousands of parents at a rally. Kravetz says she wants to send a message to state lawmakers about public education.

"I hope to accomplish that the legislators who think that cutting funding to education is going to make a better more sustainable world will understand you shouldn't cut funding. And that the decision to take a system with four tests to graduate high school and turn it into 15 was a mistake."

Kravetz says testing changed during her time as a teacher in Houston. She's also seen that change with her own kids.

"My 15-year-old when she was in elementary school did lots of writing, did lots of reading, did lots of interesting engaging activities and rarely saw a multiple choice test.  My 10 year old is given web links to websites where she does mathematics and chooses multiple choice answers and doesn't do discovery learning... And that's wrong."

Some state lawmakers have already filed bills to change the testing system, like Representative Dan Huberty, a Republican from Humble. He wants to give high-performing students a break on tests.

"We're overtesting our kids. This is just one piece of the puzzle. So you know my bill is dealing specifically with third through eighth grade right now but we're also going to be dealing with the high school level kids."

Huberty says his frustration with testing is personal.

"I just got done meeting with my son's teachers about you know his scores that we just got back last week from a test  he took nine months ago. It's ridiculous. Forget that I'm a legislator for a second. As a parent, my wife and I are as frustrated as everybody else. You know, the benefit is that I have the ability to try and fix it."

Huberty says the testing issue needs to be fixed. But it's going to take more than just one session in the State Legislature.

Bio photo of Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for KUHF, including K-12 and higher education.

Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and regularly contributed to WLRN, the local NPR affiliate and Miami Herald news partner...