TEA announces a "zero tolerance" policy

Image credit: Pixabay

The Texas Education Agency has announced a new effort to end TAKS cheating, like the cheating that seems to have plagued HISD:

The Texas Education Agency will begin analyzing schools’ test scores for unusual gaps and swings, modeling the effort on a Dallas Morning News investigation that found suspect scores at nearly 400 Texas schools.

The state’s education commissioner, Shirley Neeley, also announced Monday that the agency will hire an outside testing expert to improve the state’s procedures for preventing and detecting cheating on the TAKS test.

“We will have zero tolerance for cheating,” Dr. Neeley said at an Austin press conference called to address the News investigation.

Where do we even begin with that? Apparently it never occurred to the highly paid educational experts at the TEA that a school might CHEAT, to get all those bonuses for good TAKS scores? It never occurred to anyone at the TEA to analyze test scores for gaps and swings before this? Well, no, it didn’t. We know this because of a Dallas Morning News story from last month:

“Typically, school districts police themselves,” said Lisa Chandler, the TEA’s director of assessment. “We trust educators to educate our kids.”


Ms. Chandler said she refuses to react cynically when TAKS scores improve by leaps and bounds.

“It may be an optimistic viewpoint, but it’s also a necessary viewpoint,” she said. “We can’t afford to lose five years in a child’s educational career. They have to have improvement. Can we expect quick turnarounds? We have to. We can’t let those kids not be successful.”

I was amazed at that quote last month. I am still amazed at the quote. Actual learning is not what’s important. What’s most important is high test scores, no matter how they are achieved.

I just heard Neeley, on a KTRH news break report, say that the TEA takes all allegations of TAKS cheating seriously. I don’t think so. Chandler’s quote above makes it clear that the TEA was not that concerned with the possibility of cheating, prior to the DMN‘s embarrassing investigation.

How much you want to bet that Neeley and Chandler will receive big raises and bonuses for coming up with this new idea of hiring someone to “improve the state’s procedures for preventing and detecting cheating on the TAKS test.”?

Don’t laugh. It’s not that far out of the realm of possibility. However, the taxpayers would probably be better served by letting the DMN handle this every year.

(Old) Forum Comments (0)

About Anne Linehan 2323 Articles
Anne Linehan is a co-founder of blogHOUSTON.