HARLINGEN, Texas – The Texas Education Agency currently grades Texas public schools on an A-F scale. However, for elementary and middle school campuses, the only element they are graded on is their students’ STAAR test scores.

That is wrong, according to Raise Your Hand Texas, a nonprofit, non-partisan, organization that supports public policy solutions that invest in Texas’ 5.4 million public school students. 

“We strongly believe that a meaningful accountability system looks at the whole child and school, not just a single test on one day,” said Dr. Libby Cohen, senior director of advocacy for Raise Your Hand Texas. “A single test should not be the sole indicator of school and student performance.”

Cohen said her group wants to help craft a “world-class” accountability and testing system for Texas. “One that supports our kids and provides a more complete picture of our students, our teachers, and our schools.”

Raise Your Hand Texas recently hosted a press event at the Harlingen Area Chamber of Commerce. One of the many educators to speak at the event was Alicia Noyola, superintendent of Harlingen CISD. 

In her remarks, Noyola, picture above, said she agreed that elementary and middle schools and their students should be measured, but not through the 32, predominantly multiple choice, question STAAR exam.

“Thirty-two questions are measuring the quality of learning and experiences that happened over 173 days of school. Thirty-two questions are measuring the value of a teacher. Thirty-two questions are measuring the quality and effectiveness of a school,” Noyola said.

“Yet, those 32 questions do not measure the joy my 3rd graders at Lee Means Fine Arts Academy feel when they’re on stage putting on a performance of their work and discovering the passion for the arts.”

Here is an audio recording of Noyola’s impassioned plea for STAAR to be replaced:


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