All in Press Release
The ETS report, recognizing that the STAAR assessments for grades 3, 4 and 5 were grossly over the legal limits, provided the TEA with analysis and initial recommendations on how to bring the STAAR into compliance. That analysis includes warnings that shortening some of the assessments while maintaining the same content blueprint might lead to questionable reliability. The report goes on to provide comparisons to other state tests that allow significantly less time per question on comparable standardized tests.
Mr. Morath’s excuses were never-the-less expected as a legal tactic to draw out the litigation—increasing the time and expense necessary for parents to get relief from a judge. However, what does come as a shock is the extent to which Mr. Morath, the TEA, its vendor Educational Testing Service (ETS) and the Attorney General are working together to keep records and communications about the STAAR hidden from public view.
Commissioner Morath and the agency make the argument that parents “lack standing” and do not have the right to sue the Texas Education Agency in court. They claim parents must complain to the agency itself if they believe the agency broke the law. This means the TEA not only chose to ignore the Texas Legislature but now deems itself beyond the reach of the Texas judiciary.
The Texas Education Agency has now lost faith in STAAR statewide. In a massive victory for millions of parents and students across the State of Texas, the TEA has canceled the final round of the 2016 State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) for 5th & 8th grade students.
“Despite knowing that the assessments did not comply with statute, and despite a lead time of over nine months to comply, the TEA failed and refused to develop assessments that comply with the statute. As a result, approximately 2,000,000 Texas students were administered illegal assessments. The results of these illegal assessments are now being used to enact punitive measures against students, teachers and schools across the state. The Plaintiffs sue for declaratory and injunctive relief to ameliorate the ongoing harm.”