Biden Picks Texans For White House Roles; State Moves Ahead With Online STAAR Test Plans

This week in Texas politics with the Texas Tribune

By Alexandra HartJanuary 8, 2021 12:35 pm, , ,

It’s time for the week that was in Texas politics with Alex Samuels, political reporter for The Texas Tribune.

Texas lawmakers reacted to the storming of the U.S. Capitol in a number of ways.

Wednesday, when it was first happening, I think lawmakers were pretty united in pleading for peace after… supporters backing the president stormed the Capitol and disrupted the Electoral College certification,” Samuels said. “We had Congressman Chip Roy tell us that he believes rioters needed to be arrested and jailed. And Democrats like Joaquin and Julian Castro calling on Senator Ted Cruz to resign. Cruz, of course, faced a decent amount of backlash after he launched a dispute to the certification of Arizona’s electoral votes.”

The incoming Biden administration has tapped three Texans for White House staff jobs.

Those Texans are Emmy Ruiz, Cristóbal Alex and Adrian Saenz,” Samuels said. “Ruiz is an Austin-based political consultant, and she will serve as Biden’s director of political strategy and outreach. Alex, who is an El Paso native, will serve as a deputy cabinet secretary and Saenz will serve as deputy director of the Office of Public Engagement. So Ruiz, for one, she had a role on Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ 2019 bid for the Democratic nomination for president.”

The state is moving forward with plans for online STAAR testing

“Texas is again shaking up its standardized testing contracts,” Samuels said. “This week it signed two four-year agreements totaling $388 million with two companies to develop and administer STAAR exams to public school students. Of course, the switch in vendors comes as Texas builds toward having all students take the STAAR online. I think currently just twenty percent of students take the STAAR online.

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