Local schools react to proposed bill

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GRAYSON CO., TX-Right now, the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness exam, or STAAR, counts for 15 percent of a high school student's grades. But a group of lawmakers wants to change that and give school districts the option to decide for themselves whether the test will impact grades at all.

Teresa Okinda's daughter, Angelica, goes to Sherman High School and said she doesn't agree how the STAAR test would count towards her daughter's grades.

"It's got gaps for me, you know? It's got gaps for me. I think there's so much concentration on the passing of the test than the material and the content of the
subject," she said.

Denison I.S.D.'s Dr. George Hatfield said right now, Texas law requires the STAAR test account for 15 percent of a high school student's grade and that's just too much.

"An assessment from a testing company, which isn't proven, which is brand new, is not a way to tell a kid that 'you can't graduate because you didn't pass the E.O.C. that counts 15 percent of your grade,'" he said.

Thursday, the education committee voted unanimously to pass a bill that allows school districts to decide for themselves how much the STAAR results would affect their high schooler's grades. Now, that proposed bill goes before the Senate.

"That would be indicative of the fact that maybe they're finally listening to the schools that are telling them that this is not the way to go," said Hatfield.

Sherman I.S.D.'s Dr. Tyson Bennett agrees.

"We're excited anytime that they can provide us the opportunity to make those decisions here locally that's gonna best serve our kids and that's what we're gonna look forward to do," he said.

Sherman High School sophomore, Matthew Marceau said he doesn't mind how much the STAAR currently counts toward his grades.

"It's a test like anything else. I mean, is it really unfair that it counts for your grade? A standardized test is still a test," he said.

but Hatfield said he hopes the bill goes forward.

"If the Senate follows the actions of their buddies in the House and they do away and change the testing system so it's better for kids. And of course, we support that a hundred percent," he said.

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