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Proposed bill from local lawmaker would eliminate some STAAR exams

Posted at 9:57 PM, Mar 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-06 23:21:55-05

A local lawmaker is going after the state’s standardized testing system.

State Representative Abel Herrero (D-Robstown) filed a bill Wednesday to get rid of some of the STAAR exams required by the state for students to advance to the next grade or graduate.

In House Bill 3328, Herrero seeks to get rid of statewide testing requirements that are not mandated by federal law. According to the bill’s language, that would get rid of writing exams for fourth and seventh graders and social studies exams for eighth graders.

In addition, end-of-course exams for high schoolers would be restructured to meet minimum federal requirements for reading, math and science. Currently, secondary students are required to pass five tests in the subject areas of English I and II, Algebra I, Biology and U.S. History.

In a statement, Herrero says this will give teachers flexibility and freedom to educate our children.

Nancy Vera, who heads up the Corpus Christi American Federation of Teachers, agrees.

“Teaching has gotten ridiculous where we’re being told what to teach, when to teach it and how to teach it,” Vera told KRIS 6 News. “It’s gotten to the point where we’re not teaching the whole child.”

Herrero also says the bill will relieve students from the anxiety that comes with preparing for standardized tests. Vera says that’s not the only consequence of these exams for students.

“What we wind up doing is producing students that know the test well, but are they able to apply what they’ve learned to daily life? I don’t think that they can,” Vera explained.

“Our children … when they graduate from high school … don’t have the social skills to be able to interact with each other or with other people, like in business.”

The bill still has multiple legislative steps before it has a chance to become law. Still, Vera is encouraged that lawmakers are listening to teachers’ concerns about these tests.

“It’s time that we take charge — educators — take charge of our educational system and say enough is enough.”

Herrero’s bill came one day after another lawmaker called for a suspension of the STAAR test. State Senator Jose Menendez (D-San Antonio cites research that indicates it unfairly tests students at the wrong grade level. Menendez plans to introduce a bill for a two-year moratorium of the use of the STAAR test.