With the recent Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, schools all across the country have been impacted. Following the cancellation of extracurricular events and instruction for two additional weeks, state testing has even been affected.
Just this morning, Governor Greg Abbott agreed to calls and petitions to waive the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) for the 2019-2020 school year. In addition to the official announcement released earlier today, Abbott has made it known that he “is requesting that the Department of Education (DOE) waive federal testing requirements” for the year as well.
The governor has also shared that he is working with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to “ensure that schools continue to deliver instruction to students while students are absent or while schools are closed due to COVID-19.” Not only that, but Abbott is collaborating with the TEA to meet the needs of special needs students and make certain that all students are prepared to “succeed at the next grade-level.”
Abbott explained that this decision was made for the safety and health of students and educators, and that the state of Texas will allow individual learning institutions to make the necessary decisions to shield their communities from the negative effects of the virus.
The TEA has expressed their satisfaction with the decision to cancel STAAR, saying that “it allows schools the maximum flexibility to remain focused on public health while also investing in the capacity to support student learning remotely.”
As told by the official statement made, it is not lost on Abbott nor other decision makers that the STAAR exam, no matter how controversial, has been a method of demonstrating a student’s mastery of grade-level content to parents and teachers. That being said, the governor has shared that he “remains committed to ensuring parents, students, and school districts have access to this [demonstration of] information in future years.”
For further information, please refer to the official statements made by Governor Abbott and the TEA.