Thursday, April 7, 2016

Are we focused on the STAAR test or on the students?

By now, most involved with public education are aware of the testing fiasco that occurred during the week of March 28.  This was not only a failure on the part of the system overall but appears to be a complete failure on the part of Educational Testing Service (ETS) to respond to these issues in a timely manner.  Much has been written and many have weighed in but there still seems to be a greater focus on process than on outcomes, i.e., the impact on students and educators.

I applaud and thank TEA Commissioner Mike Morath for his actions and response to this issue, calling the situation “unacceptable”.  His actions clearly indicate a position that is very supportive of the students in Texas public education.  Some have challenged that his response did not go far enough but he certainly stepped forward in initiating the dialogue.

As I watched this unfold last week, I saw two specific links that resonated well with me in addressing concerns about what transpired.  The first was a letter to Commissioner Morath from Dr. Karen Rue, Superintendent of Northwest ISD.  Dr. Rue’s letter to the commissioner can be found by clicking here.  Thank you, Dr. Rue, for a thorough and prompt summary of the issues.

The second was an editorial published in The Monitor, the largest newspaper in South Texas, titled “Texas failed our kids with the faulty STAAR tests”.  The editorial highlights comments and proposed actions articulated by Sen. Eddie Lucio, D- Brownsville, and Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen.   Their questions relate not only to the process of rendering the test itself but also to the funding for this purpose.  The editorial can be found by clicking here.   

My hope is that the impact on the students and educators who prepare for these tests is not lost in this discussion.  Nor should this issue cloud the overall assessment and ratings of districts and schools alike.  While scrutinizing the testing process itself is crucial, instead of focusing so much on the testing process, we need to redouble our efforts to ensure that we are giving our students the opportunity to succeed.  In short, we must continue to Make Education a Priority.


  1. Well said my friend. If testing is more important than children then we have truly missed the mark!

  2. Well said my friend. If testing is more important than children then we have truly missed the mark!

  3. Morath said that, but then he turned right around and said that scores will be used to rate teacher effectiveness and schools. And by extension, students.