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Commerce council in favor of transforming education system

Scott Harvey

COMMERCE - A passionate Blake Cooper Tuesday called for an end to Texas’ high stakes standardized testing, winning the approval of the Commerce City Council.

Council members unanimously approved a resolution in support of the Commerce ISDsuperintendent, who has been visiting with several community leaders as of late to discuss the issue. You can read the full resolution here.

Cooper has long championed for an equitable finance system in Texas which, along with hundreds more school districts in the state, is being challenged in court. But Cooper’s address Tuesday was concerning a different cause.

“Texas school boards representing 542 districts, that in turn represent over 3.3 million students across the state, have begun passing a resolution concerning high stakes testing and standardized testing of Texas public school students,” Cooper said. “Again, that’s more than half the districts in the State of Texas and that number continues to grow.”

Cooper feels the resolution, if acted upon by lawmakers, will help transform learning for the use of technology to help bring back engaged learning in the classroom. He also feels the less time spent on standardized testing, the more time instructors have to teach to their strengths.  

“With this resolution, we want the powers in Austin; we want them to know that the stakeholders in Commerce, Texas want to support a transformation of the educational system from a bureaucratic system  to an atmosphere based on trust, shared values, creativity, innovation and respect.”

This resolution has even been passed by some schools across the nation, says Cooper. He’s already received the support of the Commerce Economic Development Corporation, and plans to present soon to the Chamber of Commerce.

Cooper says he recently visited with students at Commerce Middle School and from the Texas A&M University-Commerce Honors College, asking each how they would characterize their ideal teacher.

They answered, “Teachers and professors that are happy to be there. That they don’t take their frustrations of a bad morning out on their students. They’re passionate about their subject. They care about their students. And they make learning fun and engaging. I don’t believe subject knowledge was even mentioned. That’s what kids want.”

Cooper added that of the 177 school days for the 2011-2012 school year, roughly 43 days involved some form of standardized testing.