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State Representative Mike Villarreal
Texas House of Representatives
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 22, 2013
Contact: Peter Clark
Phone: 512-463-0532 (o), 512-417-9262 (c)
Local Parents Applaud Effort to Bring Balance Back to Classrooms
San Antonio - Today Representative Mike Villarreal filed new legislation, HB 596, to shift the state away from the “high stakes” nature of Texas’s testing regime. Lawmakers in Austin face a growing movement of parents, educators and business leaders clamoring for reform of the state’s school accountability system. Reform of the system is one of the top priorities for the 83rd Texas Legislature.
Rep. Villarreal announced the legislation to parents, educators, and students at the Young Women’s Leadership Academy in San Antonio this morning. “Our testing program has become a high stakes system hostile to students and educators,” Villarreal noted. “I believe that we must hold schools accountable, but we’ve lost our way by emphasizing testing above all else.”
Last spring the state began implementing the new State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) program for grades 3 – 12. High school students are now required to take end of course exams in subjects such as Algebra, English, and History. These test scores count as 15% of a student’s final grade for the course. Students are required to achieve a cumulative passing score on 15 assessments in order to graduate from high school, in addition to meeting other graduation requirements.
Rep. Villarreal’s new legislation will limit the number of school days spent on testing students. It eliminates the requirement that the end of course exams count for 15% of students' grades. The bill also aims to reduce the number of assessments required for students to graduate from 15 to four. Villarreal’s legislation would remove the requirement that test scores be used to determine schools’ “Recognized” and “Exemplary” ratings.