As we look at the state of Texas over the last 15 years, we see an educational system that has changed the fortunes of students, especially minority students, in dramatic ways. It has done that through the steady additions of the critical pieces that established an aligned system of what is taught, what is tested, and how schools will be held accountable for student achievement. From this practitioner’s perspective, the impact on student achievement of the alignment has been a positive step toward ensuring that all children learn to high levels, but it is only a step, not a final destination. To understand the current situation, one must start back at the beginning.