At Bowie High, a forum was held to discuss a slew of issues educators say are ruining students' opportunities for success.
Among them was the issue of standardized testing, which they say encourages administrators to cheat and limits students learning.
"Teaching not testing" --- that's the mantra of nearly 300 educators, concerned citizens and legislators are trying to take to Austin.
“Because of the standardized test and because of the accountability standards that all school and students have to meet, it has changed the focus of what teachers do in the classroom and what students do in the classroom from learning and learning to problem solve and critical thinking skills to teaching a test,” said El Paso TeachersAssn. President Norma De La Rosa.
A test they say pushes administrators into corrupt practices they wouldn't otherwise be willing to do. While they're optimistic this message will be heard by state legislators, EPISD conservator Dr. Judy Castleberry is sending a message to district.
In her most recent report she wrote some central office personnel will be asked to reapply for their positions this month, others will retire and resign, leading to a significant reorganization of the district.
“There's a number of positions that are open beginning with school administrators here at central administration,” said EPISD Interim Superintendent Vernon Butler. “We're already beginning the personnel process in order to replace those positions.”
He wouldn't give specifics but says it's a process that won't be drawn out. The longer course of action, currently being brain-stormed by Texas State Teachers Assn. and National Educators Agency., is ending the high stakes standardized testing which they say takes time from teaching and learning.
“That's why this process is so important, so we can give that power to this community to make the changes that are necessary,” said District 78 State Rep. Joe Moody.
In her November report Castleberry says the external investigation will move beyond just the central office and Bowie High but to other campuses as well. This gives educators hope that not only will the symptoms of the cheating scandal be done away with but the causes behind it as well.