by Jason Isaac, State Representative
Texas is a diverse state. We’re rural and urban, people of all races, religions, beliefs, and backgrounds.
With such diverse walks of life come diverse opinions. But if there’s anything Texans can agree on from El Paso to Beaumont and Amarillo to Brownsville, it’s that standardized testing plays too big a role in our public schools.
The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) cost Texas taxpayers $300 million per four-year contract — a contract that was bungled last school year.
But the financial cost is not the only problem. Students and educators are stressed, and rightfully so. Preparing for and taking the 22 STAAR exams required by state law steals valuable classroom time from the children we are preparing to become the next leaders of our state and nation.
That’s why I’ve filed the Teaching Over Testing Act, or House Bill 1333.
The Teaching Over Testing Act proposes four critical reforms to standardized testing in Texas:
1. Allow school districts to select their test providers
2. Reduce the number of tests
3. Remove STAAR scores from teacher evaluations
4. Reduce the weight of STAAR scores in A-F ratings
I’m overwhelmed by the outpouring of support this bill has already received — from hard-line Republicans and progressive Democrats, from teachers and parents, and from all around the State of Texas.
It’s clear that we place too much emphasis on testing, and simply put, STAAR places an unfair burden on students, educators, families, and you, the taxpayers.
We must spend less time focusing on standardized testing in our public schools and give our educators the freedom to do what they do best: preparing our next generation of leaders for a lifetime of learning, thoughtful citizenship, and professional success.