Suspending the STAAR Test: Letter to Education Commissioner Mike Morath

July 13, 2020

July 9, 2020


Commissioner Mike Morath

Texas Education Agency

101 Congress Avenue

Austin, Texas 78701


Dear Commissioner Morath:

Thank you for your dedicated leadership guiding our public education system during these difficult times. I have joined your initial daily and then twice weekly calls with Superintendents and members of the Legislature so know first hand the tireless efforts you have devoted to the unprecedented pressures.  We are most appreciative.

As a parent, grandparent, former school board member, and current member of the House Public Education Committee, I feel compelled to join colleagues and others and express my deep concerns regarding resuming STAAR testing during the 2020 – 2021 school year. I appreciate your commitment to measurement and accountability, but this is neither the time nor the vehicle for such purpose. I most respectfully urge you to reconsider any such plans.

Our students, teachers, administrators, and parents have been through, and continue through, serious challenges. This past school year and the learning process was disrupted, teachers and parents were saviors in their efforts to keep the process moving remotely, but we must acknowledge that the learning process was impacted. The remote efforts presented challenges. Despite best efforts, digital divide issues were evident and remain. Further compounding the challenges is the fact that a significant number of students could not be located and missed the remote education entirely. The remedial issues appear to be significant. We will face challenges addressing not only those students who missed any learning, but also addressing the varied remote experiences. In short, how can a STAAR test be fairly and accurately applied in view of the inescapable circumstances ? Why subject our students, teachers, and parents to such an exercise that will not provide fair and accurate measurement or accountability ? I respectfully suggest that our children’s education will be far better served and advanced by securing appropriate waiver from accountability testing for the upcoming school year and utilizing any testing for diagnostic purposes only to determine our students current learning level and any necessary remedial efforts as a result of the unprecedented complications negatively impacting the last semester.

No one knows better than you what our students, teachers, administrators, and parents have been through these past months. The upcoming school year will have sufficient challenges reestablishing our children’s education and learning. Subjecting all to STAAR testing and the traditional ramifications will not further that vital restoration. Let’s please focus on that key purpose.

I sincerely appreciate your thoughtful consideration of this request.


Steve Allison