The Dallas Morning News recently ran a three-part long-form article on the passing of HB 5, which significantly rolled back the number of high-stakes exams that are administered in Texas. From the concluding paragraphs:
So in a relatively short time, a Legislature that had been the most all-in in the nation about high-stakes testing as the key tool for accountability became almost as all-out as federal law would allow.
As inevitable as it may look in retrospect, however, the shift was anything but at the time. Politics, policy and more than 30 years of history pushed hard against the change in course. As House Speaker Straus put it recently:
“We got as close as we could to something not happening, but it happened.”
HB 5 did not have my unequivocal support, as it removed the requirement that all high school students take Algebra 2 before graduating from high school. But, on balance, I think HB 5 definitely helps more than it harms.