Day: <span>August 12, 2016</span>

What about STAAR doesn’t the education commissioner understand?


In published comments this week, state Education Commissioner Mike Morath seemed confused about the STAAR testing regime and its negative impact on students. Either that, or he was talking out of both sides of his mouth.

In a visit to Abilene this week, Morath promoted his T-TESS teacher evaluation system, which is to be partly based on STAAR scores, raising the stakes on standardized testing as parental and educator opposition to high-stakes testing is growing. T-TESS is a punitive evaluation system that TSTA and other public education advocates have gone to court to try to stop.

Interestingly, in the same visit, Morath either contradicted himself about STAAR, or indicated he doesn’t really understand how bad the testing regime has become for students.

According to the Abilene Reporter News, at the end of a story linked below, Morath also said: You cannot allow assessments to become debilitating. You can’t allow them to become a point of stress, and you certainly cannot tell a child your life depends on an assessment.”

Didn’t he just describe STAAR?

Morath added, “It’s important to have a balanced view on what they (assessments) can and cannot do for us.”

He said the state must not lose sight of its goal to educate students beyond just a test. I agree, but when is state policy going to free educators to start doing that? And why did Morath add testing to the teacher evaluation system?