Oliveira, René O.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 02/17/2012
Lawmakers Call For One -Year TEA Waiver Before New Standardized STAAR Tests Affect H.S. Grades
State Rep. Rene O. Oliveira Friday called on the Commissioner of the Texas Education Agency to delay unfunded public school accountability requirements that may jeopardize the academic progress of economically disadvantaged students under new state testing rules.
Oliveira is joining colleagues in the Texas House and Senate to request a one-year deferral of the implementation of the current requirement that the new State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) end-of-course examinations count for 15 percent of a student's final high school course grade.
In a letter to TEA Commissioner Robert Scott, Oliveira joins House Public Education Committee Chairman Rob Eissler in requesting a delay in requiring the test to figure into this year's grades.
"We would like to formally request that you defer the 15 percent provision for the 2011-2012 school year," it reads. "We strongly believe this action is in the best interests of our ninth grade students."
The STAAR testing includes exams for grades three to eight, but in high school, tests will be given at the end of courses in Algebra I and II, geometry, biology, chemistry, physics, English I, II and III, world geography, world history, and U.S. history. The new tests replace the controversial TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) exams.
"In the Valley, we have proven that we can far exceed state standards for economically disadvantaged and limited English proficiency students if given the resources. Now, we have a new state mandate to meet testing standards with fewer funds to prepare our students," Oliveira said.
Last session $1.5 billion was cut from TEA for discretionary grants for education service centers, teacher instruction, full-day Pre-K, and other important programs. Those cuts affect programs that were directed at closing the achievement gap between poor students and their wealthier counterparts. No additional funds were allotted for STAARS prep or remediation, Oliveira said.
Contact: Anthony Gray