This news story has been edited to clarify that the grading system discussed in the letter is about the accountability system the TEA uses to rate schools, not grades for individual students.
Local school district superintendents and state legislators are requesting the state suspend STAAR testing and the TEA’s A-F grading system for the 2020-21 school year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The formal request was sent Friday to Gov. Greg Abbott and the commissioner of the Texas Education Agency, Mike Morath, and signed by State Senator Pat Fallon, State Reps. Tan Parker, Lynn Stucky, Michelle Beckley and Jared Patterson and nine Denton County superintendents, including Argyle ISD’s Dr. Telena Wright, Denton ISD’s Dr. Jamie Wilson and Lewisville ISD’s Dr. Kevin Rogers.
The letter asks Abbott and Morath to suspend the STAAR and the TEA accountability grading system used to rate schools because of the challenges that the school districts are facing as the pandemic surges in Texas.
“As you know, we all hoped that conditions surrounding the current pandemic would improve, and unfortunately this has not proven to be the case over the past month,” the letter says. “Our state has never faced a challenge like tis in public education.”
The letter says that suspending statewide testing — which it says was “problematic even before the pandemic” — would allow districts and teachers to focus on providing the best possible instruction instating of on the STAAR.
“We know that students will return to school this fall with an even greater variety of educational levels than usual, and suspending the STAAR would allow us to focus on elevating these students to their deserved academic level by the end of the 2020-21 school year,” the letter says.