FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 08/29/2016
Rep. Isaac Proposes Alternatives to STAAR
Austin — In light of more bad news about Texas’ standardized testing system, the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR), Rep. Jason Isaac (Dripping Springs) is calling for fundamental reform.
“Flawed testing practices threaten the State of Texas’ ability to fulfill our education system’s goals — and our children’s futures,” Rep. Isaac said Monday. “The litany of errors being uncovered about STAAR is simply a disservice to our students, hard-working teachers, and families. To that end, I propose that schools be given the freedom to choose from a variety of nationally normed standardized tests, not have their hands tied while the State of Texas tries to iron out STAAR’s many kinks.”
Since STAAR was last administered in May, news has trickled out about problems with test administration, including lost or late testing materials, glitches that erased test results, and mishandling of students’ private information. STAAR also failed to meet the provisions of House Bill 743, which Rep. Isaac joint authored and requires that 85% of students be able to complete the exams within two or three hours, depending on grade. The Texas Education Agency last week announced that its testing vendor, Educational Testing Services, has been fined more than $20 million for these errors, possibly the largest such fine in Texas history.
“I’m pleased that the Texas Education Agency has taken significant steps to improve STAAR, but it’s clear there is still more work to be done,” Rep. Isaac stated. “School districts should not be hampered by an inefficient and ineffective system. Adding a dose of free-market philosophy to education by allowing a variety of standardized test options can only drive down costs and improve quality.”
Rep. Isaac continued, “I hope my colleagues will join me when the 85th Legislative Session convenes in seeking transformational changes that will ensure that testing is a benefit, not a burden, to Texas’ students, teachers, and families.”
Representing Blanco and Hays counties, Rep. Isaac has served House District 45 in the Texas Legislature since 2011. He is a member of the Economic and Small Business Development, Environmental Regulation, and Local and Consent Calendars committees and is chair of the Subcommittee on Small Business. He lives in Drippings Springs with his wife, Carrie, and two sons who attend public schools.