AUSTIN, Texas — A parent at Manor ISD is raising her concern with how students are going to perform on this year’s STAAR test, given that there are wide-scale teacher shortages caused by COVID-19 that are affecting how students learn.
“From what I understand, from what my daughter is telling me, the students go into the classroom, they call roll for the students, and then the student just sits there,” said parent Skeeter Simpson. “How can they do a STAAR test if they’re not learning what they need to do the test?”
A Manor ISD representative says students are learning but that things may be looking a bit different. And as a result of the teacher shortage, they’ve had to combine classes.
“Instructions may look different. It may not necessarily be a teacher presenting to the whole class, it may be that more so a scholar has their computer and they’re on a learning management system where the assignments are,” said Manor ISD Chief Academic Officer Alejandro Góngora.
According to TEA numbers, last year’s STAAR test scores were worse than scores in 2019 across the board, though we can’t fully compare the years of scores because not all kids took the exam in 2021.
“The scores will be affected by the pandemic. Not only are scholars being impacted, families are being impacted, our teachers and our staff are being impacted,” said Góngora.
State Sen. José Menéndez of District 26 in San Antonio wrote a letter to the governor and TEA Commissioner urging them to cancel the exam this year.
"My concern is that during this pandemic we’ve had unbelievable record breaking numbers of teachers absent," he said. "So my question is, is this the best use of taxpayer dollars?"
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