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Reports from Policy Analysts

No Excuses

Submitted On: Saturday, September 16, 2017

Analyst: Lesesne, Teri/Sam Houston State University

There is an old meme still floating around to the effect that "beatings will continue until morale improves." This could well be applied to the Commissioner of Education of Texas. Recently, school districts who were hard hit by Hurricane Harvey suggested that perhaps state testing could be placed on hold this year.

For those who have not followed the fate of Houston area schools, school districts pushed back the start or the resumption of school for 1-2 weeks in an effort to find a place for displaced students whose schools suffered anywhere from considerable to severe to complete destruction.  Schools are having to share facilities until repairs can be made. 

Despite petitions with more than 200,000 signatures, the Commissioner maintains that postponing or canceling the state test (STAAR) would be impossible. In an article in the Texas Tribune (, educators pointed to not only the flooding of schools but the trauma sustained by many students who lost everything in the flood.  Nevertheless, officials with the state insist that the testing moves forward.

And this year, schools will receive A-F grades using these test scores. The fear at the local level is that testing students under these severe circumstances will result in low grades for many schools affected by Harvey. The state has indicated their intent to hold further hearings to consider how to help schools affected. However, it does appear that testing will continue as planned. I wonder if the grades will be accompanied with an asterisk that explains the circumstances faced by the schools?

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