Want to abolish STAAR? It won’t happen if you don’t help.

I know there is a lot of opposition to STAAR among parents (myself included) and teachers out there, and many people are applauding state Rep. Brooks Landgraf of Odessa for filing House Bill 736, which would drastically reduce the role that standardized testing now plays in the lives of public school students and educators.

But, as of now, that bill has a slim chance, if any, of passing. STAAR testing has become entrenched in the highest levels of the state’s educational bureaucracy, and it will become even more stressful for children, not less, as the A-F grading law is fully implemented with letter grades assigned to individual schools later this year. That’s because those grades will be largely determined by STAAR scores.

The only way Landgraf’s bill is going to have a chance of passing — and the only way the A-F law is going to be repealed — is if legislators hear from their constituents, loudly and clearly, throughout the session that you have had it with high-stakes testing and demand that they do away with it and the letter grades. Tell your legislators to give public schools more resources, not more stress.

It’s fine to contact the governor, the lieutenant governor and the speaker. They also need to hear from you. But so does your own state representative and state senator –and throughout the session. Make sure they know that you are a voter in their district. If you don’t know who your state representative or state senator is, or you aren’t sure, go to this link and fill in your home address to find out who they are and how to contact them.

You don’t like STAAR testing? One state representative has taken a first step toward doing something about it, and you and your friends have started applauding him on Facebook and Twitter. That’s fine, but that won’t do much good unless you and your friends also start contacting your legislators and demanding that they actively support the bill and push it to passage.

Otherwise, like a lot of other good ideas, it will be ignored and end up on the legislative trash heap.

1 Comment

  • I just retired with 31 years experience in public education. I loved every minute of teaching and really enjoyed my students. There was one exception. My subject was not tested, PAP Algebra 2 and PreCalculus. But the days I missed instruction for testing really limited the material I could cover. I taught much more difficult concepts to regular students 20 years ago. I wanted my students to be college or career ready. But I saw testing and teaching to a test destroy that possibility.

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