SAN ANGELO, Texas — Nearly 70 members of the Texas House of Representatives - 50 democrats and 18 republicans - are calling on the state to take steps toward canceling the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness - also known as STAAR exams - in the spring of 2021.
Members of the house, and local educators like Robert Lee Independent School District Superintendent Aaron Hood, are arguing that not only does STAAR testing divert attention and money away from issues surrounding the pandemic, it's also unfair to evaluate schools and teachers based on state-wide exams when COVID-19 has affected every district differently.
"The accountability feature is going to be unfair. When you put a grade on a campus where you had an influx of COVID-19 or even just quarantine, students are automatically going to lose instructional time from their teachers and there's going to be subs in the classroom... It's kind of an unfair baseline," Hood said.
Texas' academic accountability system grades schools on an A-through-F system that is largely tied to STAAR scores. Last spring, Texas applied for and received a waiver from the federal government allowing it not to administer the STAAR.
On Wednesday morning, Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath said there is still a lot up in the air over how the STAAR will be administered and used to rate school districts, but he seemed to reject the idea of canceling the exams.