Education News

Parents Try to Keep Lawsuit Over STAAR Exams Alive

The state uses STAAR exams to rate schools and scores can also impact if students advance to the next grade or attend summer school.

At a hearing in Austin Wednesday, a group of parents will fight to continue their lawsuit against the Texas Education Agency over standardized exams.

Those parents want to throw out the scores for STAAR exams for grades three through eight. They argue that they shouldn’t count because the Texas Education Agency didn’t follow new rules from lawmakers on how long the tests should take.

But Education Commissioner Mike Morath and Attorney General Ken Paxton want a judge to throw out the case.

“It’s purely a procedural argument as to whether or not we have the right to have a judge hear our case,” said Ben Becker, a Houston dad who leads the Committee to Stop STAAR. The grassroots group has raised more than $20,000 from over 300 donors for the lawsuit.

Becker said that it’s also a fight for public information. He explained that the TEA and its testing vendor ETS collected data on how long it took students to complete the exams, but that state officials have refused to release that data.

“That’s something that we believe is owed to the public whether we were having a lawsuit or not. The public deserves to know the data that TEA and ETS have on these tests,” he said.

The TEA declined to comment on the case, citing pending litigation.

The state uses STAAR exams to rate schools and scores can also impact if students advance to the next grade or attend summer school.

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Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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