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The Brief: The STAAR Test Takes a Turn in the Hot Seat

Amid highly publicized technical glitches, a commission looking at the future of standardized testing decides against proposing elimination — for now — of the student accountability measure.

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The Big Conversation

As dozens of schools in the state await the delayed results of this year’s STAAR exams, a panel tasked with developing recommendations on the future of standardized testing in Texas decided against proposing to eliminate the test.

As the Tribune’s Isabelle Taft wrote, the Texas Commission on Next Generation Assessments and Accountability met Monday and agreed to recommend that the Legislature explore alternatives to the test, meaning any big changes could be years away. The panel also will encourage lawmakers to ensure high school end-of-course exams align with national college readiness measures, such as the SAT and ACT. 

The panel’s report to the governor and Legislature, and its proposals for changes to the state testing regimen, are due Sept. 1.

Mishaps with the administration of this year's State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness exams have caused frustration at schools throughout the state. In March, technical glitches interrupted testing, and last week, one school district claimed that the states new testing vendor lost some of its tests.

The Dallas Morning News reported that at least 40 schools are still awaiting test scores for their 5th and 8th graders. As the Tribune’s Madlin Mekelburg wrote, the delay prompted Education Commissioner Mike Morath to waive requirements for 5th and 8th graders who failed the exams this year, given that “some parents weren't clear on whether they would need to put their children in summer school as a result of their scores.” 

Trib Must Reads

Texas to Tie Car Registration Renewal to Child Support, by Madlin Mekelburg — This fall, the Attorney General's Office will be implementing a new enforcement measure for parents who are behind on child support payments: blocking them from renewing their vehicle registration.

Lawsuit Won, Texas Moves to Cut Therapy Programs, by Edgar Walters — Texas is finally poised to move forward with budget cuts to a pediatric therapy program for children with disabilities, but opponents of the cuts have vowed to continue putting up a fight.

For Transgender Boy, Bathroom Fight Just Silly, by Alexa Ura — In a largely conservative, suburban Houston enclave with perfectly manicured front lawns, Benjamin Elder's ordinary personal preferences are, in a way, small victories for a family striving for a sense of normalcy.

Analysis: Reaction to Patrick’s Tweet is Based on a History of Hostility, by Ross Ramsey — Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is under fire for his comments after the shootings in a gay nightclub in Orlando, and he can only blame himself. His problem isn’t his intent; his problem is that his other actions of late made his critics’ worst suspicions plausible.

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Elsewhere

(Links below lead to outside websites; content might be behind paywall)

After Orlando, McCaul bill on domestic extremism to move forward, Austin American-Statesman

Here’s how much money NRA gives Texas Congress membersHouston Chronicle

After Orlando attack, Houston gay community resolute but cautious, Houston Chronicle

After Orlando shooting, Austin bars consider security changes, Austin American-Statesman

Local Muslims join in mourning deaths in Orlando, condemning terrorism, San Antonio Express-News

Hispanic activists hope to make Trump unwelcome on swing through Texas, Austin American-Statesman

Year after High Court ruling, officials struggle to meet affordable housing demands, Houston Chronicle

Jim Wells County deals blow to ICE detention center strategy, San Antonio Express-News

Texas Young Democrats set to unite to keep 'demagogue' out of White House, The Dallas Morning News

Mayor, pension boards on same page at hearing, Houston Chronicle

State mulling increase in car registration fees, but counties object, Austin American-Statesman

Dallas murder rate still high but shows signs of slowing, The Dallas Morning News

How Flag Day came from Texas and a German in San AntonioFort Worth Star-Telegram

Quote to Note

“It’s been a total disaster. I think everyone agrees with that.”

 — State Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, chair of the Senate Committee on Education and a commission member, on the administration of the STAAR test this year

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 23-25 at the University of Texas at Austin

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