ODESSA — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) submitted a letter to Texas Education Agency (TEA) Commissioner Mike Morath on Monday calling for a suspension of STAAR testing during the 2020-2021 school year.
“Now, more than ever, we need to allow our teachers the flexibility to teach their students the way they feel is best,” Landgraf writes in the letter. “And we need our students to be inspired and motivated to learn, not overcome with anxiety about a punitive test being administered in the most unprecedented health crisis in modern history.”
Earlier this year, 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 ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In his letter to the agency head, Landgraf asks Commissioner Morath to use the same reasoning to secure waivers for the upcoming school year as well.
“[I]t is obvious that administering this test in 2020-2021 will not provide an accurate assessment of Texas students or the quality of their education. It would be testing for the sake of testing, a notion to which I am adamantly and vehemently opposed,” Landgraf concludes in the letter.
Unless waivers are granted by the federal government, states are required to assess student and teacher progress annually in order to draw down federal dollars for public education funding. However, Landgraf and other Texas Legislators have long argued that the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) goes far and above what is required by federal law, and fails to accurately assess student achievement.