School district officials across the Texas coast affected by Hurricane Harvey are continuing to convince the state to cancel standardized testing and school rankings this year.
Little Cypress-Mauriceville Superintendent Dr. Pauline Hargrove went to Austin last week to speak to the House of Representatives Committee on Public Education. She told KOGT’s Gary Stelly during halftime of Friday’s football game that 52 school districts in the state were had damage and missed days because of the storm.
The districts are hoping the state will not require the standardized STAAR tests this school year. The Texas Education Agency is scheduled in 2018 to begin rating schools and districts on an ‘A’ through ‘F’ rating system based on the tests.
Dr. Hargrove said it’s not fair to compare districts that had students miss weeks of the school year to have to be rated. LC-M is back to school, but some grades are having half-day classes. She said one district is have half-day classes every other day.
Dr. Hargrove also asked the committee to expand the free breakfast and lunch program for students. After Harvey, all students in affected districts were allowed to get the free school meals regardless of family income. The program was extended to the end of October. She said because of the widespread damage, providing free meals until the end of the school year will help families.
Also, superintendents in damaged districts are hoping the state legislature can free up some reserve funds to help with repairs.
Orange County was also represented at the hearing by Dr. Stephen Patterson, superintendent of the Orangefield ISD, and Dr. Jay Killgo, superintendent of the Vidor ISD.
Dr. Hargrove said the house committee members were “very interested” and asked how they could help.
The superintendents have also been working with the Texas Education Agency, which governs the public schools and oversees STAAR testing. Educaton Commissioner Mike Morath visited the Orangefield school district earlier this month. The district cannot use the elementary school and has shuffled classes to spaces on the junior high and high school campuses.