Texas Governor Abbott Signs Bill That Hits Standardized Testing Where it Hurts
On Monday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law Senate Bill 149 — effective immediately — which takes some of the teeth out of the dreaded standardized tests that would have prevented over 28,000 Texas High School Seniors from receiving their diplomas in 2015.
Before Governor Abbott enacted SB 149, seniors were required to pass all five of the high-stakes State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) exams throughout their high school careers before they would be awarded their diplomas.
Failing even one of the standardized tests would have prevented a student from graduating, even if they had performed well and been given acceptable or even excellent cumulative grades in each of their core education courses.
The five STAAR’s exams include Algebra I, English I and II, US History, and Biology. With the new law in place, seniors can fail one or two of the five exams and still be eligible to be awarded their diplomas via a decision by a special review board consisting of principals, teachers, guidance counselors, and parents.
According to Breitbart, things which will be taken into consideration on a case by case basis by the review boards will include criteria such as grades, College Board standardized college entrance exam scores, and attendance records.
Governor Abbott gave a statement on his official website, detailing his justification for passing the bill into law immediately:
“The goal of the Texas public education system should be to ensure all students who graduate from high school are college or career-ready. Ensuring that Texas students are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary for future success is what students, parents and taxpayers deserve. That is exactly why I have pledged to elevate Texas’ public education system to be number one in the nation.
“The Class of 2015 is the first graduating class required to pass the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) end-of-course exams in order to graduate. While it is critical that the state appropriately holds public schools and districts accountable for delivering the best possible education, we must protect Texas students from being penalized as a result of evolving testing standards. SB 149 protects students from undue penalization, and guarantees that students who meet specified requirements are able to graduate.
“I will continue to work with the Legislature to create and maintain standards of excellence for our schools so that our shared goals for public education can be accomplished.”