ODESSA — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) submitted a letter to Texas Education Agency (TEA) Commissioner Mike Morath on Friday calling for a suspension of STAAR testing during the 2021-2022 school year.
“I’ve always opposed high-stakes testing,” Landgraf said. “We have all of the same reasons to suspend the STAAR test in 2022 that we had in 2020, only now there seems to be even greater mental health concerns in our public schools. We need to cancel administration of the STAAR test in 2022, and take what we’ve learned from the last few years to come up with a different assessment method for the future.”
In 2020, after receiving calls to cancel the STAAR test from Landgraf and other legislators, Commissioner Morath obtained waivers from the U.S. Department of Education to waive statewide assessment and accountability requirements for the 2019-2020 school year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. States are required to assess student and teacher progress annually in order to draw down federal dollars for public education funding unless waivers are granted by the federal government.
“I understand that assessment is necessary, but the high stakes nature of our current system does not work, and that is especially true in times of crisis like we are experiencing now,” Landgraf continued. “That is why I have joined with West Texas students, parents and teachers in calling for the STAAR test to be cancelled in 2020, 2021, and now again in 2022, and why I will continue fighting to eliminate high stakes testing when the legislature reconvenes for the next legislative session.”
In 2021, Landgraf joint-authored House Bill 764, which would have reduced testing requirements as much as allowable by federal law, eliminating the writing tests for 4th and 7th graders as well as the social studies test for 8th graders and replacing end-of-course exams for high schoolers with a process to allow high school students to take the SAT or ACT instead. HB 764 passed out of the Texas House of Representatives with overwhelming support, 136-6, but was not taken up for consideration in the Texas Senate prior to the end of the 87th Texas Legislative Session. Members of the Texas House and Senate will convene at the Texas Capitol for the next legislative session on January 10, 2023.