Beto O’Rourke vows to get rid of STAAR test if elected – can he?

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke says if elected he will get rid of the STAAR test. Is that easier said than done?

TEXAS, USA — As Election Day draws nearer, candidates are making big promises on the campaign trail, including Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke.

One of his promises is to get rid of the STAAR test if he ousts Gov. Greg Abbott. But can he?

“I’m going to ensure [teachers] have more valuable classroom time to connect with those kids, so we’re going to stop the STAAR test,” O’Rourke said on the debate stage with incumbent Greg Abbott.

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He repeated the promise several days later to a cheering crowd and posted it to Twitter.

The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness test, or STAAR, is the state’s standardized test. It is a high-stakes test for both students and districts, meant to measure how they are performing and can impact passing grade levels and graduation. Because of the test’s weight, it has been historically controversial.

The promise to scrap it could be a hard one to deliver.

A federal law called the Every Student Succeeds Act was passed in 2015 and includes the requirement for states to measure performance in reading, math, and science. Although, it allows the state to determine how they are assessed.

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Texas has been using the STAAR test since 2012.

When it comes to getting rid of the test, KHOU 11 political analyst Bob Stein says if elected governor, Beto O’Rourke would need support from the Republican-controlled legislature. O’Rourke could also issue an executive order, however, Stein says that would likely just end up in court.

Gov. Greg Abbott’s office did not respond to a request for comment. However, he’s the one who signed off on a bill that made passing the STAAR test a requirement for high school graduation back in 2015. Since then, there have been some adjustments and students don’t necessarily have to pass STAAR to move on.

Because O’Rourke would need support from lawmakers, getting rid of the STAAR test altogether may be easier said than done.

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