TIme for the week that was in Texas politics with Alex Samuels, political reporter for the Texas Tribune.
The Texas Education Agency has announced that schools will, in fact, be required to administer STAAR tests in the spring. The schools won’t, however, be rated on the results of the exams. The decision comes as districts show many students either failing at least one class, or not showing up to online classes.
“Advocates have called on state leaders to cancel the STAAR exams completely,” Samuels said. “But Education Commissioner Mike Morath has continually rejected the idea of canceling the exams, arguing that they’re a useful way to determine how much learning students have lost during the pandemic.”
This week, the U.S. House passed a defense spending bill named after outgoing Texas Congressman Mac Thornberry, even as President Donald Trump threatened to veto it.
“Trump’s objections to the bill was because the measure doesn’t do away with legal protection for social media companies that he has long sought,” Samuels said. “:And secondly, the act calls for renaming military bases honoring Confederate leaders. In that bill is the National Defense Authorization Act, which is a massive annual bill that addresses spending within the armed forces and really rarely encounters obstacles in route to passage”
The bill passed with a margin well above the two-thirds needed to override a presidential veto.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton this week filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn election results in several key battleground states carried by President elect Joe Biden. His suit has been joined by several other Republican state attorneys general.
“The court is likely to move on the case in the coming days, but legal experts expect Texas to lose again,” Samuels said. “Republicans on the other side [are] U.S. Senator John Cornyn [and] U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, who have said that they’re either not convinced with the legal arguments that Paxton has put forward or, I think in Grangers case, she called the lawsuit a distraction.”