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Texas House Passes Standardized Testing Reforms

The Texas House voted last week to approve three bills that will improve education and school accountability, addressing issues raised by educators and parents.

In response to concerns regarding  excessive testing, the House passed House Bill 515 by Representative Gary VanDeaver, which eliminates several tests and requires schools to administer tests at the end of the school year. Most of the STAAR tests administered by Texas schools are required by the federal government, but this legislation is an important step toward reducing the emphasis that is put on testing in our schools.

The House also approved House Bill 22, authored by Dan Huberty, the Chairman of the House Public Education Committee. This legislation would reform the new A-F school rating system so that it better reflects the unique population of each school and depends less on standardized test scores. Instead of getting a single A-F grade, a school and district would be graded in three specific areas: student achievement, student progress, and school climate. This will create a more accurate picture of how schools serve their students.

Chairman Huberty also authored House Bill 23. This legislation would create a grant program to provide public schools with additional resources to educate students who have autism or other disabilities. This legislation is an effort to help students whose learning challenges may not have been fully addressed by their schools.

Each of these bills passed the House with overwhelming support, and now they head to the Senate for consideration.