Business leader speaks out in favor of STAAR testing

AUSTIN (KXAN) — “Sometimes we are all under stress. We have to find a way to deal with it.”

Drew Scheberle with the Austin Chamber of Commerce says he understands that some students may become anxious under testing. He also understands that some teachers may not express handling that well. But, he believes Texas is making the right choice using the STAAR tests.

“The purpose of testing  – of the state testing –  is did you learn the content we wanted you to learn to be ready for the next step?” Scheberle said. “So, if you don’t demonstrate that you learned the content, then you got a hole in it.”

He believes the Texas Education Agency is on the right track with the rigorous test. According to the TEA, the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills scores had risen to the mid-90 percentile, so education committee members felt a tougher test was necessary for Texas schools to remain competitive.  That’s when they introduced the STAAR.

At the same time, a group of 23 school districts are still trying to come up with they say will be a better plan. The consortium of 23 districts, including Eanes, Lake Travis and Round Rock ISD, say they want more local control. They would also like to implement non-testing techniques, like portfolios, to measure a child’s education and what they are retaining. They do not like the “one day, high stakes” that come with the STAAR.

Lawmakers unanimously passed a bill last year that would have allowed those 23 high scoring districts to get a two year moratorium on the STAAR test, but Governor Rick Perry vetoed it.

“We encouraged the governor to veto that bill – which he did – because we didn’t want school districts to opt out of accountability while they figure out what they want to hold themselves accountable for,” says Scheberle.

Scheberle says removing a child from testing is not the answer, and he points out that more students are taking the STAAR test rather than opting out, and most students are passing it.

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