Raise Your Hand Texas Calls on State Lawmakers to Pass Legislation Focusing on Reforming the STAAR Test

Leaders highlighted recommendations for reform of the state’s testing and accountability system on the same day as STAAR testing kicks off across the state.

Coming up on Thursday, two of the bills that reflect these recommendations for reform will be heard in House Public Education Committee: HB 4402 and HB 4514.

What Your Local Leaders Are Saying >>

“Giving one standardized test to 5.4 million students who all come from different backgrounds, in rural, suburban, and urban schools and believing we can compare and label all the students and schools based on this one STAAR test, really does not make sense. Students and schools are so much more than one letter grade,” said Jay Tullos, Superintendent, Ennis Tx 

AUSTIN, TEXAS (April 18, 2023) – Raise Your Hand Texas is urging lawmakers to put KIDS first in the state’s assessment and accountability system during Measure What Matters Day at the State Capitol. It’s time to pass legislation to change how the state’s assessment and accountability system measures academic success.

Leaders from Raise Your Hand Texas, alongside Measure What Matters Council members and local community leaders, are calling for reforms to the state’s STAAR test and the expansion of indicators to the public school accountability system.

“Today marks the start of the STAAR testing season in Texas public schools,” said Dr. Libby Cohen, senior director of advocacy for Raise Your Hand Texas. “A single test should not be the sole indicator of school and student performance, but that’s today’s system in a nutshell.”

“Texas lawmakers have the opportunity to craft a world-class accountability system, one that supports our kids and provides a more complete picture of our students, our teachers, and our schools,” added Cohen.

Raise Your Hand Texas’ recommendations for a new accountability plan are reflected in a number of bills moving in the House and Senate during the closing weeks of the Legislative Session. The recommended reforms are KIDS-focused:

Knowledge for parents and community members

Indicators beyond the test

De-emphasize STAAR

Seek feedback

Legislation that reflects many of these reform priorities is found in House Bill 4402 (Rep. Keith Bell), HB 4514 (Rep. Steve Allison), HB 4691 (Rep. Jon Rosenthal), HB 4967 (Rep. Erin Gamez), and Senate Bill 2303 (Sen. Morgan LaMantia). 

Policy recommendations for this KIDS-centered reform of school assessment and accountability are drawn from A Report from the Measure What Matters Assessment & Accountability Council. The Report reflects more than a year of statewide community conversations, data collection, analysis, surveys, and research.

“It’s time we do right by and for our students and teachers,” said Dr. Michelle Smith, executive director of Raise Your Hand Texas. “Our accountability system should provide parents and schools with a more holistic look at all the things that contribute to long-term student outcomes.”

Texas schools help build well-rounded young people who will lead Texas and fuel our future workforce. But the test-centric system we use to grade our public schools is anything but well-rounded.

About Raise Your Hand Texas

Raise Your Hand Texas is a non-partisan nonprofit organization supporting public policy solutions that invest in Texas’ 5.4 million public school students, encourage innovation and autonomy, and improve college and workforce readiness. Our statewide advocacy team works in communities throughout the state to raise the voices of parents, teachers, community leaders, business owners, and students who care about the future of public education. Our advocacy work, alongside current research, informs the policy recommendations we make to Texas lawmakers. For more information, visit www.RaiseYourHandTexas.org

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