Texas Senate sneaking MORE STAAR problems into school finance bill

AUSTIN — Only hours ago, Texas Monthly announced that the Senate Education Committee is essentially pulling a fast one on Texas students and families with the STAAR test.

This is a cause for immediate concern for all Texans, as the vote on school finance is scheduled for Monday, May 6, 2019, according to the magazine.

Seeing as this issue was only recently brought to light as the sun starts to set on this biennial legislative session, the Texans Advocating for Meaningful Student Assessment released a statement Friday:

“(Texans Advocating for Meaningful Student Assessment) appreciates the hard work and dedication the legislature has put into education this session. But we were dismayed to see the Senate Education Committee substitute of the School Finance Bill (HB 3) include a late but significant expansion of high-stakes testing,” the TAMSA group stated in a press release. “The current version of HB 3 requires funding to be tied to 3rd grade test scores, increases the number of STAAR tests with the addition of 4 new writing tests in grades 3-8, adds a new assessment in kindergarten, and increases the passing threshold for STAAR tests.

This overreach comes when public confidence in STAAR reliability is at it’s lowest due to recent revelations about misaligned STAAR reading passages. A poll conducted by TAMSA in January showed 98% of more than 2400 respondents opposed tying funding to testing.
Readability studies show that STAAR passages are written 1-3 grade levels above the grade
level being tested. Additionally, despite the assurance that STAAR passages are thoroughly
vetted, the 2019 5th grade STAAR test included at least two profane words. HB 3 also
includes an additional $100 million more taxpayer dollars to implement these new STAAR
provisions when there has been little political will to adequately fund Texas public schools.
This is the time to push pause on STAAR, not double-down on a misguided and ill-conceived testing system. We urge the Senate to block these testing provisions, remove them from HB 3, pass the version passed by the House and move school funding forward.”

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Creighton Holub

Civilian photographer and journalist turned Army public affairs operator and combat veteran turned publisher. Winner of local, regional, state and national awards in news, photography and journalism.

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