Houston Parents, Teachers Rally Against High Stakes Testing

Students, teachers and parents marched at a union rally outside the HISD headquarters this week against high-stakes testing. The importance of the tests was underscored by an ongoing investigation into alleged cheating at two Houston elementary schools.
There has been a pushback against standardized tests in Texas public schools. While the Texas Legislature cut back on the number of tests in high school this year, some parents and teachers here in Houston think standardized tests still carry too much weight.

This week while the Houston school board was preparing for its next meeting, there was a different kind of meeting going on outside in the cold rain.

“HISD, listen up!”

Dozens of parents, teachers and students marched and chanted in the rain in front of the headquarters for the Houston Independent School District.

The rally was against high stakes testing in HISD.

The importance of those tests was underscored by the ongoing investigation into possible cheating on state exams at two Houston elementary schools.

Gayle Fallon is president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, which organized the rally.

“With the teachers, all we see is if those test scores aren’t good, then they’ll find a reason to try and get rid of you and what that guarantees for your children is that all they’re going to do is test prep.”

a union rally outside the HISD headquarters Here in Houston test scores help drive teacher bonuses and evaluations.

Janet Izaguirre is a senior at Davis High School and involved with the group Community Voices for Public Education.

She says one of her teachers gets good test scores. But Janet doesn’t consider her a good teacher.

“She only teaches us for 10 minutes, leaves us alone to learn and she will not even stay after school to help us out.”

Teachers and students eventually moved their rally from the cold outdoors to inside the HISD board meeting where they sat and observed quietly. 

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...