State Sen. Senator José Menéndez (D-San Antonio) has been a long-standing critic of the STAAR test, calling it an “unnecessary and poorly designed means of assessment.” Menéndez also filed legislation—which did not pass—to cancel STAAR last year. Texas AFT also has urged cancellation for an obvious reason: trying to get an accurate assessment while our schools are in chaos with staff shortages and thousands of COVID-19 infections is impossible.
When Menéndez surveyed some 13,000 Texans last spring, he found that 97% of respondents favored canceling STAAR. Here’s his take on this year:
“In January of last year, the state signed a four-year agreement with two companies to administer the STAAR test totaling $388 million dollars. Using this money to administer a high-stakes test at a time where we are experiencing a teacher shortage, a substitute teacher shortage, mental health challenges for both teachers and students and burnout among everyone in our education system is unacceptable. This money needs to be used to provide our schools and teachers the resources they need to help our children grow academically, not a test. As if the stress of taking the assessment were not difficult enough, placing the weight of accountability on the shoulders of eight-and-nine-year-old children, coupled with the stress of being concerned about whether they will be promoted to the next grade level during a global pandemic is unfathomable. It would be irresponsible to place our students and education communities in harm’s way during this pandemic using a system that has repeatedly only set our children and schools up for failure.”