Day: <span>May 17, 2016</span>

Education commissioner doesn’t think STAAR is a problem

State Education Commissioner Mike Morath may have been embarrassed by the well-publicized glitches in the administration of many STAAR tests this spring, but he apparently still likes the wasteful testing regime.

In an interview with Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith this morning, Morath claimed the STAAR tests weren’t “overly burdensome” for students because they required only two or three days of testing at the end of the school year.

He didn’t acknowledge, however, the many other days of benchmark testing and other test preparations that take big chunks of time away from real learning opportunities for elementary and middle-school students.

It is difficult to believe that the commissioner is so shielded from the realities of these classrooms that he actually doesn’t realize how much time is being wasted on teaching to the test and how the STAAR stress being placed on school kids is destroying their ability to enjoy learning.

Has he actually taken the time to sit down with some real classroom teachers and real parents? If so, he would get an education into the real world of STAAR testing.

Instead, Morath wants to increase the stress level even more – for students and educators alike – by tying test scores to teacher evaluations. That issue, over which TSTA has sued the commissioner, didn’t come up during this morning’s interview.

But clearly the commissioner loves test scores. He repeatedly said he wanted to improve student “outcomes.” I assume he means more than STAAR scores, but time will tell.