Along the southeast coast of Texas where Hurricane Harvey’s impact was greatest, thousands of kids have been displaced from their home schools, and in some cases placed in other districts. Disruptions have been significant, but apparently not significant enough for education officials in Austin to change the schedule for state-mandated testing in affected areas.
Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath said Wednesday that the state was unlikely to suspend STAAR testing requirements for students displaced by the storm, and that there would be no change in the way school districts are graded, based on state’s education accountability system.
Aliyya Swaby, education reporter for the Texas Tribune says TEA has not made a final decision about adjustments to STAAR scheduling. The agency cited logistical difficulties in making schedule changes, whether adjustments were made for all Texas students, or just those who have been affected by Harvey.
A Pearland teacher has launched a petition aimed at convincing the education agency and the state’s political leaders to cancel STAAR testing, and use the money saved by rebuild Harvey-impacted schools. Swaby says the petition currently has 230,000 signatures.
TEA Commissioner Morath said that state money for schools could be front-loaded into 2018, to help fund rebuilding. The money comes from the 2018-19 appropriation by the legislature, and spending it early would mean less funding for 2019 needs.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.