Lackland Air Force Base, Texas —
While a recent televised media report uncovered how some educators in area school districts have experienced difficulty passing their state-mandated tests, the Lackland Independent School District is not one of them.
According to LISD Superintendent Dr. David Splitek, there is currently only one educator in the LISD who does not have the required Texas certification, and he is testing April 14.
Jasen Stuart, a fifth-grade teacher at Lackland Elementary School since Oct. 1, transferred here from Georgia and has been using online materials to study for his test.
"There's a lot of pressure, but like most things, if you study well and prepare, you'll usually be successful," he said.
The testing requirement is part of the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act, a key piece of legislation passed under the Bush Administration designed to reform education in America.
"Every state has to make sure its teachers are the highest quality," Dr. Splitek said. "And this mandatory testing shows how serious the federal government is about making sure we have high-quality educators."
Linda Regino, a fourth-grade teacher at Lackland Elementary, recently took her Texas tests and passed.
"I was fine until I heard people talking about how hard it was," said Ms. Regino, who recently moved here from Kansas. "So I went to the Texas education Web sites and printed off all the testing materials and took all the pretests. I studied and I did fine."
According to Mr. Stuart, he's heard many teachers refer to it as a "grueling test," from the intensity level to the long testing period.
Ms. Regino admits the tight security at the testing site can be intimidating. Test takers are required to lock up all their personal belongings, including water bottles and snacks, and must sign in and out for breaks during the five hours allotted for the text-heavy test.
"But I think (going through) that can be a positive thing as a teacher because it helps us prepare our students and be more understanding of what they go through during their (state-mandated tests)," Mr. Stuart said. "The goal of the test is larger than the test score itself."
According to the Texas Examinations of Educator Standards Web site, the purpose of the TExES program is to ensure educators have the required content and knowledge necessary for an entry-level position in Texas public schools.
There are currently almost 50 different TExES tests for various positions within the education field, ranging from superintendent to principal to librarian to mathematics in various grade levels.