STAAR results demand action

Texas, we’re better than this, and our students deserve more. There’s too much at stake to keep pretending everything’s just fine.

Michael Williams, Board Chairman and Lionel Sosa, Board Member

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News
August 6, 2017

Headlines surfaced this summer about the declining passing rates on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR). It’s critical we understand exactly what those rates mean for Texas students.

Many of us think of classroom grades when we see percentages, so numbers hovering around 70 percent don’t seem so bad. Most of the passing rates on critical reading and English exams are in that range. But let’s look at that number another way.

The number of students who failed reading tests in grades three through eight or English exams in ninth and 10th grades amounts to 1,014,346. That’s more than the entire population of Austin, Fort Worth or El Paso — Texas’ fourth-, fifth- and sixth-largest cities.

Would you want to knock on the doors of an entire city to inform its residents that despite their hard work they’re not “there” yet? To admit that the system has failed them?

Teachers, students, and parents are feeling that pain this summer as they get STAAR results. And in their world, the face they see when they break the news is not one of a stranger — it’s the face of a child they care for deeply.


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