AUSTIN, Texas - The Association of Texas Professional Educators is saying no to standardized testing during a raging pandemic, saying it’ll only hurt students.
“What we have asked is that we have a moratorium on STAAR testing in the current school year and on TELPAS in the current school year,” said senior lobbyist Monty Exter.
The group is calling for Governor Greg Abbott to halt the requirements for the 2021 school year.-the state did waive the STAAR test last school year, at the beginning of the pandemic.
“This is so educators can focus on direct classroom instruction right now both from an academic standpoint and a social, emotional standpoint. They don't need to be worried about trying to meet the mandates of a statewide testing system,” said Exter.
Exter said not only will this help teachers, it'll take a load off of students. “Right now we've already got a lot of trauma and pressure in the system. When you get too much pressure in the system it breaks down learning,” he said.
Ken Zarifis, president of the local teacher and staff union Education Austin, says more importantly he's an Austin ISD parent. He believes STAAR testing will put some kids further behind.
“I’ve got a six-year-old and a 14-year-old. I see how hard they are working and how hard teachers are working. COVID and STAAR, it's absolutely ludicrous that we would even be encouraging or thinking about giving a STAAR test. It would not measure anything that we think it should measure,” said Zarifis.
The ATPE said after the pandemic, testing is still necessary, but the STAAR test, in particular, needs to go. “We agree that accountability is a positive thing in a school environment and assessment again is very necessary for learning. Whether or not STAAR is the best we can do, we can probably do better than STAAR," Exter said.
“I think STAAR testing is the worst tool we can use to understand where kids are. I think STAAR testing has been used to bludgeon states, districts, school, students and teachers,” said Zarifis.
ATPE is hoping the federal government can create a national waiver for these standardized tests. FOX 7 Austin reached out to the Texas Education Agency and the governor for comment and did not get a response.