In a letter sent by Rep. Diego Bernal on Wednesday, the lawmaker is asking the TEA to cancel the exam and have it be used as a "diagnostic tool" instead.
This AM, I sent a bipartisan letter to the TEA requesting that TX seek the federal waivers necessary to cancel the STAAR test. At most, STAAR should only be used as a diagnostic tool, as opposed to determine sanctions under the A-F accountability system. #txlege pic.twitter.com/q6zs6ZZCaB— Diego Bernal (@DiegoBernalTX) November 18, 2020
"At most, any administration of the STAAR exam during the 2020-2021 school year should only serve as a diagnostic instrument to see where our students stand academically as opposed to an assessment instrument to determine district and campus sanctions under the current A-F accountability system," read the letter.
Bernal, who represents a district that covers downtown and north central San Antonio, serves as vice chairman of the State House Public Education Committee. A total of 68 legislators signed the bipartisan letter.
Bernal also mentioned the "COVID Slide" in his letter, which refers to the belief that the virus has impacted large numbers of students to the point that many are now behind and/or failing.
"Instead of proceeding with the administration of the STAAR exam as planned, the agency, along with our districts and campuses, should be focused on providing high-quality public education with an emphasis on ensuring the health and safety of students and educators," wrote Bernal.
Meanwhile, the Texas State Teachers Association said it's supporting Bernal's efforts. In a tweet posted on Thursday, the organization said, "#TeamTSTA applauds and supports the efforts of 68 members of the Texas House, both Republicans and Democrats, who have called on the state education commissioner to seek the necessary federal waivers to cancel STAAR testing for this school year."
#TeamTSTA applauds and supports the efforts of 68 members of the Texas House, both Republicans and Democrats, who have called on the state education commissioner to seek the necessary federal waivers to cancel STAAR testing for this school year. https://t.co/jftF3X9Ckk pic.twitter.com/cGUXxekytn— TSTA/NEA (@txstateteachers) November 18, 2020
In July, just four months after the pandemic began, Gov. Greg Abbott waived the grade promotion requirement related to the STAAR exam for 5th and 8th grade students.
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