State waives A-F accountability ratings for 2020-21
Testing | Accountability
Date Posted: 12/10/2020 | Author: Jennifer Mitchell
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) announced Thursday it will waive state requirements tied to the "A through F" accountability rating system for schools this year. The announcement came as welcome news to ATPE and the many other education stakeholders that have called for such waivers due to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unfortunately, state officials have not heeded calls for cancellation of the administration of STAAR tests this school year, which ATPE has advocated for several months now. Today's announcement from TEA states, "The STAAR test will proceed for the 2020-21 school year in order to provide critically important information about individual student learning that teachers and parents can use to help students grow... School systems are required to make STAAR available to every eligible student. The test will be administered on school campuses across the state or at other secure alternative testing sites... STAAR will continue to be administered only in secure environments to ensure the results remain valid and reliable."
TEA is at least giving school districts the ability to refrain from using STAAR data in their teacher evaluations, if they choose. In response to requests from ATPE, Commissioner of Education Mike Morath has repeatedly declined to issue a moratorium on teacher evaluations, saying local school districts already have flexibility to make their own decisions regarding appraisals.
Texas will still have to seek waivers of associated federal accountability requirements in order to classify all school districts as "not rated" for this school year.
In a press statement issued today, ATPE Executive Director Shannon Holmes said, "We believe that waiving the STAAR test mandate for the year is the best move for our Texas public schools. However, removing the added pressure of the A-F ratings is a step in the right direction."
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