Showing posts from April, 2013


Like most native Texans, I anticipate the arrival of April for one reason: bluebonnets. The fields along our highways come alive with color. The blues, reds, and yellows of wildflowers blanket our landscape and turn ordinary patches of weeds into something beautiful to behold.

Over the past two weeks, I have trekked down I-45 for two separate trips--one to College Station and the other to Houston. Seeing these bursts of color stoked my Texas pride.  The Josh Abbott Band's anthem "My Texas" played in my head as I admired the simple beauty of a field blanketed in bluebonnets. My tires have tread that road too many times to count, and I couldn't help but think as I looked out my window, "I've never noticed that patch of field before. But with those bluebonnets, it's breathtaking."  On that ribbon of road through the heart of Texas, we don't have mountains or an abundance of trees. But for a few weeks in April, a mundane stretch of highway becomes …

It Gets Worse: A Parent's Perspective on High-Stakes Testing

I have experienced standardized testing from every angle. As a student, I remember that clammy feeling of anxiety creep over me as I struggled to fill in those tiny bubbles. I was/am/and always will be a horrid test-taker. I got into A&M on my class rank and extra-curricular involvement (NOT my SAT score--trust me). As a high school teacher, I remember that panic-filled moment of desperation as I pleaded with my kids to "take this test SERIOUSLY" and "do their BEST" because their "FUTURES were depending on it." (Because, of course, teenagers respond well to that kind of pep talk). As a TAKS tutor, I remember that suffocating pressure as I encouraged those seniors before their LAST CHANCE to pass the test so that they could walk across the stage and graduate with their friends. (It doesn't get any more high-stakes than that.) As an elementary librarian, I now see testing from a little kid perspective, and let me tell you, the stress and anxiety are…