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Texas lawmakers join parents in just saying ‘no’ to mandatory STAAR tests this year

Texas lawmakers are joining parents in just saying “no” to mandatory, in-person STAAR tests...
Texas lawmakers are joining parents in just saying “no” to mandatory, in-person STAAR tests this year. (File)(KOSA)
Published: Feb. 9, 2021 at 7:08 PM CST
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(KWTX) - Dozens of members of the Texas House are asking Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath to protect students’ health, wellbeing, and safety by offering an official way to opt-out of the 2020-2021 STAAR exams.

“It shouldn’t be difficult to opt-out,” said Stephanie Farber, the mother of a Copperas Cove ISD student.

“If parents really feel that’s the safest thing for their child, that should be an option and shouldn’t be difficult to accomplish.”

Sixty seven members of the House signed the letter to Morath, including State Rep. Hugh Shine, R-Temple.

“My question to the superintendents was basically, ‘Is this something that would be very helpful for you in administering education for our students over this next school year?’, and they unanimously said yes,” Shine said.

But some aren’t waiting for the state.

Hundreds of parents have created a Facebook group “Texas Parents Opt Out of State Tests”.

Local families say standardized testing should not be a priority given how education has changed due to the pandemic.

They also feel it’s not safe to take the tests in person.

“If my daughter is forced to go into school with a whole bunch of other people, she’s exposed,” Farber said.

“Her body can fight it off, but she is going to bring it home and she shouldn’t have to worry about that at all in the first place.”

Shine says flexibility is key during the pandemic and that extends to testing.

“Forty six percent of students across the state are taking their classes online, and then we have an unknown percentage of students that may have been lost somewhere between the online and actual participation in our schools,” Shine said.

“I think this gives us a great opportunity to look at how we are conducting testing for the students to determine if going forward we need to make any real fundamental changes for accuracy purposes.”

The letter is now in the hands of the Texas Education Agency.

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