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Harvey-affected schools may get a break on the STAAR test

Good.

Texas school districts hit hard by Hurricane Harvey may not have to worry as much about how well their students fare in this year’s standardized tests, Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath announced Wednesday at a meeting of the State Board of Education.

Morath said at the meeting that he understood the impact of the storm on schools and students, possibly signaling that he would consider not applying this year’s scores on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, to the agency’s assessment of Harvey-affected school districts.

Students across the state began taking STAAR exams this week.

Agency spokesperson DeEtta Culbertson said agency officials will “look at the STAAR scores, and [Morath] will make determinations on districts or campuses based on some kind of Harvey-related waiver.” Based on that determination, STAAR scores may not be included in Harvey-impacted schools’ ratings, Culbertson said.

ā€œIā€™m anticipating that a relatively large number of campuses, from Corpus to the Louisiana border, would be eligible for that,ā€ Morath told the State Board of Education on Wednesday. He cited the devastating effects on schools of student and staff displacement, as well as school facility closures and disruptions, as reasons behind the decision.

This has always been the sensible thing to do. It may be that scores are not affected, and it may be that there’s a big difference. Whatever the case, there is nothing to be gained from penalizing the districts that were affected by Harvey. This was a traumatic event, and many people are still hurting. Don’t make a bad situation worse. Kudos to Mike Morath for keeping that in mind.

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One Comment

  1. Mark Kerrissey says:

    Culbertson is in the race of his political life time. Of course, he will press the case of Harvey waiver in his west side district. But at the same time he is not pressing Commissioner Morath to be flexible on the HISD IR Ten schools. If our school board goes ahead and flips those schools to outside partnerships by April 30, what happens if Morath does issue a Harvey waiver to HISD? The prize in this game is charterizing 6500 students, 400 plus teaching jobs, $26 million plus of taxpayers money, new buildings while getting Mr. Culbertson re-elected to Congress. I don’t expect much empathy from TEA. They got our property tax money and now want our kids and their buildings with complete governance authority.