A group of Texas parents who organized to fight high stakes standardized testing has been named 2016 Texas Public Schools Friend of the Year by the Friends of Texas Public Schools (Friends). Texans Advocating for Meaningful Student Assessment (TAMSA), also known as Mothers Against Drunk Testing, will be honored at the Friends 12th annual gala on December 7th at Baylor University’s Baylor Club at McLane Stadium in Waco.
The Friend of the Year Award was established by Friends to honor those rare individuals and organizations who step up as champions for those who learn and work in our schools. Honorees clearly see beyond the sensational headlines and often negative politics and understand that the success of Texas public education is everyone’s business.
“The Board of Directors at Friends of Texas Public Schools is pleased to honor TAMSA as our 2016 Friend of the Year,” said John Costilla, president, Friends of Texas Public Schools and Director of Strategic Partnerships with myON. “TAMSA has made a substantial and positive impact for educators, students and families. They’ve led selflessly and courageously to persuade the state to do what’s right for kids. On behalf of Friends, thank you TAMSA members for all you have done and continue to do every day to improve the Texas public school experience for our students.”
TAMSA started in 2011 as a statewide, grassroots organization of concerned parents that supports a more reasoned approach to student testing. The TAMSA mission is to improve public education in Texas through the use of meaningful and effective student assessments that allow for more productive classroom instruction and more efficient use of public funds. TAMSA is a nonpartisan organization; working in a cooperative manner with school districts, legislators, and other key policy makers to develop meaningful student assessment for Texas students.
“TAMSA is deeply honored to receive this award,” said TAMSA President Dr. Theresa Trevino. “We cherish it as an emblem that we are part of a wonderful community that strives to improve our children’s educational experience. When we started our advocacy five years ago, we could not imagine the great partners that we would meet along the way. We have made a difference in how policymakers now look at student assessments. Yet, each [legislative] session presents a new set of challenges. If we are to continue to make student assessments more meaningful and less harmful, then we need to continue to work together.
“We need to ensure that policymakers are informed about the impact and the consequences of their decisions when it comes to measuring our students’ achievements,” Trevino continued. “We are adamant that one test on one day should not define a child’s opportunity to graduate or be promoted. We know that students, parents, teachers and administrators understand the concept that a student is more than one test on one day. Now, we all need to work together to make sure our policymakers understand this and implement positive changes in support of all Texas children.”
TAMSA proposes that the state decrease the number of tests to no more than required under federal law, eliminate “high stakes” performance requirements and ensure the length and composition of the tests are age-appropriate. TAMSA also encourages the state to use diagnostic, norm reference tests, such as the SAT or ACT, which are already used by colleges to gauge student learning, rather than expensive state-specific high stakes tests.