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Texoma state representative sends letter to state asking to cancel STAAR this year

Published: Nov. 24, 2020 at 5:34 PM CST
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DENISON, Texas (KXII) - Texas lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are uniting to ask the state to cancel the STAAR test this year.

One Texoma state representative mailed a personal letter last week to the Texas Education Agency.

“I just don’t see a purpose for putting the students through it. I don’t think it can be a safe for the teachers or the students,” said Texas State Rep. Reggie Smith.

He’s one of dozens of law makers who want the STAAR test stopped for this year for all grades.

The tests are designed to measure where students are academically and whether they’re ready for the next grade.

“That assumes that they’ve had some type of a regular school situation in which to learn, and that’s clearly not been the case,” Smith said.

Governor Greg Abbott waived the requirement where student’s STAAR test score determines whether they move on in 5th and 8th grade.

For the state to cancel the test altogether, they’d have to seek federal waivers, which they did in the spring.

“However they did develop some alternative assessments that were optional for school districts. One was an end of school test,” Smith said.

Denison ISD Director of Assessment and Special Programs Regina Prigge said the end of year test helped as an alternative to the STAAR.

But with distance learning, quarantines and school closings, the year has continued to be anything but normal.

“So it may be very difficult to gage the traditional learning with a traditional test in a non-traditional year,” Prigge said.

Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath has not committed to canceling STAAR, or to any changes to the state’s accountability rating system.

Prigge says she’s thankful for legislators reaching out.

“We appreciate that they do have the best interest of our students at heart, and that they’re taking action to support the needs of our families, our teachers and our students,” she said.

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