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Flynn Urges Governor, TEA, Legislators To Suspend 2020-21 STAAR Accountability Ratings

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For the second time, District 2 Rep. Dan Flynn lobbies for suspension of state school accountability ratings based on STAAR results.

In a letter dated March 13, 2020, Representative Dan Flynn wrote to Governor Greg Abbott urging him to “cancel and eliminate” the STAAR testing requirement this 2019-2020 school year.

This week, Flynn signed a resolution calling for the Governor, TEA and Legislators to suspend state accountability ratings based on testing for the 2020-2021 school year.

Flynn cited the closure of classes and suspension of in-class learning beginning in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which changed learning to at-home learning and distance learning for the rest of the spring semester. Although the state is beginning to increase the activities that may be conducted at school, including summer school, social distancing parameters are still being in place. What and how the fall semester may be conducted at Texas schools remains to be seen.

The state representative in the resolution argues that 60 percent of Texas public school students are identified as economically disadvantage they may not have reliable access to online infrastructure needed to successfully navigate online learning. Students have lost one-on-one instruction and may not be able to attend summer school needed for some to prepare for testing.

With 50 percent of elementary and junior high schools’ accountability scores on Domain 3 which measure based on academic growth from year to year. The cancelation of STAAR tests and at-school classes in 2020 wouldn’t allow for accurate calculate annual growth, Flynn contends in the resolution.

Conducting STAAR testing in the 2020-21 school year and using that data to determine school ratings would be unfair to students, teachers, administrators and schools; that in turn creates a “psychological disruption and a stressful learning environment,” Flynn argues.

Instead, Flynn asks state officials to suspend the state STAAR testing accountability ratings for the full 2020-21 school year “to allow school district sto focus on interventions necessary to recover instructional gaps resulting from school closures caused by COVID-19.”

With the threat of future response for pandemic health threats, the resolution signed by Flynn asks Legislators to re-examine and develop a new school accountability system “based on multiple forms of assessment that do not require extensive high stakes testing and one that more accurately reflects a broad range of student learning.”

The resolution marks at least the second time this year that Flynn has appealed to the Governor regarding the STAAR test.

Author: Faith Huffman

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