Education

Temple Independent School District Superintendent Bobby Ott said Monday that he will submit a request to the Texas Education Agency about waiving this year’s state assessment and accountability requirements.

This plea follows the Temple Independent School District board of trustees’ unanimous approval Monday night of a resolution calling for the waiver. The board cited several three key reasoning, including Gov. Greg Abbott’s renewed declaration of a state of disaster, a decrease in on-campus learners and students’ loss of learning.

“Educators across the state are facing a year unlike any other,” Temple school board president Dan Posey said. “Our board, therefore, finds it unjust to hold schools to the standard of a year like any other.”

Ott agreed.

“School districts have been forced to implement nontraditional practices,” Ott said. “The state should exercise the same level of flexibility under given conditions.”

The board also noted how students were heavily prepared for STAAR testing requirements for the 2019-20 academic school year — testing that Gov. Abbott waived on March 16.

Last year that preparation was backed by 26 weeks of uninhibited and traditional instruction, according to Temple ISD. The same cannot be said for this year, the district said.

“The rationale for suspending last year’s assessments was not due to student preparedness, but out of concern for the physical administration of tests amid a pandemic,” Ott said. “This coming spring, I would also contend that continuing with the STAAR test and A-F (ratings) would be holding public schools to a traditional standard during a nontraditional school year.”

He emphasized how instructional delivery varies from classroom to classroom across the state, adding how STAAR testing would place “undue stress” on both students and faculty.

“Carrying out standardized testing for students learning under disparate conditions places additional, undue stress on students and educators for the sake of collecting data that will reflect an inaccurate picture of the state of public education in Texas,” Ott said.

Ott’s letter to TEA Commissioner Mike Morath is slated to be sent on Tuesday.

Temple ISD – which saw a 32 percent decrease in on-campus learners from August 2019 to September 2020 — said professional associations, local legislators and regional education agencies have requested copies of this resolution.

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