The following excerpt is from written testimony by Texas 2036 Senior Policy Advisor Mary Lynn Pruneda, which was delivered to the House Public Education Committee on July 26, 2022.
Previously, we explored two key takeaways from statewide polls to determine how parents feel about their child’s public education:
- Parents are worried about the quality of their child’s education; and
- Parents rely on data to understand how their child performs academically.
Next, we dive into where we go from here:
What is the answer to the disconnect between parents’ overall satisfaction with their public school and their simultaneous concerns about their student’s academic progress?
Simple: Texas should equip parents with the data they need to actively engage in their child’s education.
There will be ongoing discussions this interim and during the legislative session on ways the state can actively empower parents to take part in their student’s education. Clear, objective data is one of the best tools that we have to ensure parents know how their child is doing, and that parents can work with their school districts in response to their child’s academic performance.
Standardized testing is a tool to empower parents to understand their child’s and their school’s academic performance and intervene to support their children when needed. Without actionable data, parents lack the necessary information to fully engage in support of their child’s academic future.
The need to equip parents with data on their student’s outcomes is pressing.
The best outcome that we can look for in terms of total student performance is how that student does after high school graduation. We have several different ways that we can measure this outcome while the student is in the K-12 system:
- 90% of Texas high schoolers graduate from high school;
- 63% of students are considered College, Career and Military Ready; and
- 26% of Texas high school graduates received a 4 year, 2 year or Level 1-Level 2 certification program 6 years after graduation.
The data is clear: Texas is missing the mark when it comes to postsecondary outcomes.
The road to improving these starts in the K-12 system and requires parents to have full knowledge of their child’s academic performance, including how they’re performing relative to their peers.
Parents are their child’s first and greatest teacher. They need access to academic information to support their students. In order to do this, the state needs to assess students annually and in core subjects. Then be intentional about providing that information to the child’s parents. The only way the state can overcome the academic deficits it currently faces is by viewing parents as powerful partners in this change and equipping them with the data they need to advocate for their child.