Texas Sen. Dan Patrick Slams National Media, Defends Education Reform Bill

State Sen. Dan Patrick, District 7
We've reported how Texas lawmakers are weighing big changes to the number of standardized tests in high school and graduation requirements, like algebra II. On Tuesday, Houston's state Sen. Dan Patrick defended the measures against national criticism.

State Sen. Dan Patrick leads the education committee in the Senate.

Together with other lawmakers, the Houston area Republican has been pushing to scale back standardized testing and change the basic requirements for a high school diploma.

Patrick knows those proposals have gotten critical attention in national media. He fires back as he addresses a hearing in Austin.

“There have been editorials written in the New York Times and the Washington Post. Since when does Texas worry about what the Washington Post editorial board and the New York Times editorial board have to say about our legislation in Texas? … If they are the end all and be all to what we do in Texas, then maybe the legislature should go home and just let the New York Times represent the House and the Washington Post represent the Senate.”

Senators in the education committee heard from Texas educators and business leaders.

Bill Hammond is the CEO of the Texas Association of Business. He says standardized tests make Texas schools accountable to students and taxpayers.

“Those people who are paying for all this education can be aware that all the materials are 'A' being taught and 'B' being learned.”

Others like Spring Branch Superintendent Duncan Klussman say testing has gotten out of hand. He says without a more flexible graduation plan more kids will just leave.

“And basically we’re going to have two tracks. It’s going to be those who graduate and those who drop out. And the dropout rate will go through the roof.”

The Texas House has already passed the bill. But it still needs approval in the Senate.

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...