Davis takes aim at testing with latest education proposals

AUSTIN -- Stopping at San Antonio College Wednesday morning, state Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) summed up her latest set of education proposals in four words.

More teaching, less testing, Davis said. Getting out of our teachers' way and letting them teach.

Davis told media gathered in the college's visual arts center those tests cost big money, and the Democratic candidate for governor vowed to eliminate waste.

Right now we are spending every two years about half a billion dollars with one testing contractor: Pearson, said Davis, who explained several attempts by legislators to audit the state's contract with Pearson have been unsuccessful. As governor, Davis said she would limit hours spent on tests and give schools more local control.

I will direct TEA to provide parents and local administrators with discretion and control over the frequency and type of assessments that are used to measure their students' growth, said Davis. And I will champion our neighborhood schools when federal mandates interfere with local accountability plans.

Republican opponent and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has made education a campaign issue as well. His campaign released a new set of proposals last week including loosening state regulations on local districts, allowing the state to seize control of the worst-performing elementary schools and requiring bonuses for AP and IB exam scores go directly to teachers.

Abbott's campaign released a statement Wednesday afternoon from deputy communications director Amelia Chasse claiming credit for Davis' latest policy sheet.

Parts of Sen. Davis plan read a lot like a Cliff s Notes version of the policy proposals Greg Abbott has been promoting for months, except hers lacks any substance or detail, said Chasse. Greg Abbott's plan ensures genuine local control that gets away from the one-size fits all mandates that have been imposed by Austin. Sen. Davis plan hinges on slogans and billions in new spending not genuine local control. While Sen. Davis' efforts to imitate Greg Abbott s plan are flattering, they say a lot about genuine leadership in the race for Governor.

Davis meanwhile continued her critique of Abbott's suggestions for measuring student progress under his set of pre-Kindergarten proposals released last month.

The testing lobby would love to profit off of a baby STAAR, Davis chided. Maybe that's why Abbott thinks it's a good idea to impose backward-thinking standardized tests onto some of our youngest.

For Davis' most recent set of education proposals -- CLICK HERE.

For Abbott's most recent set of education proposals -- CLICK HERE.


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