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Sour Lake parents call on city council to 'ban' STAAR testing

Emily Linscomb sent the mayor of Sour Lake, Bruce Robinson, a proclamation calling for the banning of STAAR assessment.

SOUR LAKE, Texas — Emily Linscomb, a Sour Lake parent, submitted a proclamation to the city Wednesday calling for the banning of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR test. 

Jonah Murphy, a librarian at the Alma M. Carpenter Public Library in Sour Lake, says he feels a better system than the STAAR test should be put in place. 

"I feel that standardized testing, right now, is seen and viewed through a lawmaker's standpoint of view, not necessarily through an educator's point of view," Murphy said. 

While the proclamation holds no legal ground, many across the city are hoping that it can send a message to Austin that another Texas town has had enough.

Across Sour Lake, people have expressed a variety of opinions about the STAAR test. Murphy graduated high school in 2014 and says based on his experiences, the test doesn't serve its purpose.
"Not everyone is standardized, you know, not everyone works out. We put so much pressure on this one thing that not everyone can do well at, even though we know these people can learn and do well in life," Murphy said.

Terra Mitchell, mother of three, says she is unsure how to feel about the issue.
"I'm kind of on the fence, in the middle about it. When used properly, I think it can be a useful tool, that way you can kind of gauge where students are at," Mitchell said. 

Murphy says says he'll never forget the feeling of having to take a standardized test.
"It was awful, at the time I had undiagnosed ADHD, and having to sit there, in that room, and just staring at this one packet, all this pressure of my whole educational career in front of me," Murphy said.

Linscomb is going one step further, asking the mayor to sign a proclamation stating that the STAAR test should be banned inside of Sour Lake city limits. The move comes one day after Devers Mayor Steven Horelica did the same thing. Federal laws require standardized testing for districts across the state in order for schools to receive federal funding. 

"If they can get a better system in place then it will definitely be something good," Murphy said. 

The Sour Lake mayor tells 12news that there's a possibility that he could put the STAAR test on the city's agenda next week, where then the council will be able to hear from the public on this issue.

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