'Teaching over Testing' bill submitted in Texas House

Texas lawmakers are considering changes to how STAAR tests are used in schools.

The "Teaching Over Testing" act would cut the amount of time students spend on the test and give districts the power to choose STAAR or another test.

Kristi Hassett, a mother of three, worries about the impact of high-stakes standardized tests and the weight STAAR scores have in evaluating schools and teachers.

“We don't look for a school that makes sure my kids knows how to test - we look for the other curriculum and the other things my child would get out of a school,” Hassett said. “That's very important to what parents want in their school and what they feel is accountable in their school.”

The Lewisville ISD parent is also a member of the LISD Board of Trustees, which passed resolutions asking lawmakers to take a serious look at the STAAR testing system.

Last year, FOX4 reported several districts complained about glitches and scoring. Another group of parents have sued the Texas Education Agency, saying it ignored a 2015 law mandating shorter tests for certain grade levels.

Their attorney, Scott Placek, said the suit wants to make changes in schools.

“I'm concerned overall for what it's doing to education in this state,” Placek said. “We're creating a generation of test takers and not a generation of thinkers and I don't think that's what the modern economy requires.”

Placek said the newly filed House Bill 1333 would be a good start. The bill reduces the number of required exams and removes STAAR scores from teacher evaluations. It would also give districts a choice in which assessment to use. It wouldn't have to be STAAR.

Scores would also be a smaller factor in the new A to F school rating system.

The bill does not have a companion in the senate right now, but the house bill does have bi-partisan support with 12 lawmakers from both parties signing on as authors and co-authors.

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