Harmful Substitute Language Being Pushed into TX SB 8”

By Donna Garner

A group of people sitting at a table with papers.

I have just heard that committee substitutes have been added to SB 8.  Only invited testimony is to be taken tomorrow in the House Public Education Committee, and the public has never heard the many changes and substitutions that are being proposed. 

Instead of SB 8 being about Education Savings Accounts and school choice, the “special interest groups” want to turn SB 8 into a complete assessment overhaul by the federal government.

Notice the wording (in red) in the following substitute language --

 SECTION 1.003.Subchapter B, Chapter 39, Education Code, is amended by adding Sections 39.0221, 39.0222, 39.0223, and 39.0224 to read as follows: Sec.39.0221.

ATRANSITION TO TEXAS SUCCESS INITIATIVE ASSESSMENT. (a) As soon as practicable and not later than the 2027-2028 school year, the agency shall: (1) adopt or develop assessment instruments in accordance with Sections 39.023 and 39.0236 as those sections were amended by __.B. ___, Acts of the 88th Legislature, Regular Session, 2023; (2) submit the assessment instruments described by Subdivision (1) for federal approval; and (3)transition from the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) assessment instrument and implement the assessment instruments described by Subdivision (1).

If indeed these committee substitutes are meant to decimate the STAAR tests, require Texas to submit its new assessment instrument to the federal government for its approval, and destroy the elected Texas State Board of Education members’ ability to set curriculum standards and stand guard over the curriculum, then I am totally against these committee substitutes.

The old saying, “You better be careful what you wish for” could be taking place right now in the Texas Legislature if the STAAR test is cast aside and a federally approved test were to take its place.  

I have written extensively about my concerns for the academic future of our students if they are not held accountable to TYPE #1 traditional, fact-based curriculum standards adopted by our elected SBOE members. 

What Texas needs to do is to pass legislation that will prohibit Obama’s Common Core/TYPE #2/subjective/CRT/LGBTQ/social justice agenda from continuing to inundate our public school curriculum.  Legislators must not do the opposite by adopting the committee substitutes that would put our Texas assessment instrument into the hands of the feds.  Remember that whatever is tested, gets taught.  

Texas needs to move our public schools back to TYPE #1 – not run senselessly into the waiting arms of the federal government and its TYPE #2 agenda.

.17.23 – “The Only Answer for America: Type #1 for All Classrooms -- Cannot Be Mixed – Just Like Oil and Water” – by Donna Garner -- https://donnagarner.org/only-two-types-of-education-type-1-vs-type-2-cannot-mix-oil-water-4-27-22/

After teaching students for 33+ years as a classroom teacher, I know that the majority of students will rise to the occasion. If the academic goals are set high, they will work hard to meet them.  If the goals are set low, students will quit struggling to excel and will be satisfied with mediocrity or worse.  


I also know that the one thing that school administrators (and their special interest groups) dread more than anything else is public accountability. I do not know who it is who is pushing these committee substitutes; but thoughtful, mature, adult legislators should be focused on doing everything they can to make sure that every student is challenged to strive for academic excellence.



Texas Legislators should be working to raise the academic standards not to do away with them.    


Here are some excerpts from my two articles (URL’s posted further on down the page).  Please scan through these two articles to read of my concerns:

Please give this some thought: If we did not have the STAAR tests, how would parents know that their children have learned anything at all?


Grade inflation and group projects are rampant (i.e., the “everybody gets a trophy” philosophy).  Grades by themselves (without an objective, state-mandated standard) cannot be counted on because of the subjectivity of teachers.


Many teachers might easily settle for popularity rather than high standards if it were not for the "measuring stick" -- the STAAR tests -- the accountability system that holds teachers (and their students) to a measurable standard.  


What if we had no such "measuring stick"?  Parents might have a child who got straight A's when she was in Grade 5 only to find out in Grade 6 that the Grade 5 teacher handed out A's like candy!  


With no "measuring stick," students could be way far behind with many gaps in their educational backgrounds before parents would know. What if these gaps were not revealed for several grade levels in a row?  Without a "measuring stick," these gaps could easily turn into wide swaths of unlearned, unmastered knowledge and skills -- leaving the students so far behind that it might be impossible for them ever to catch up…


I always ask this same question of the STAAR naysayers: “If not the STAAR as an objective measuring stick, what do you suggest?”   I am still waiting on someone to offer a better solution.

2.18.23 -- “School Choice and Nationally Normed Tests” -- By Donna Garner -- https://donnagarner.org/2-18-23-school-choice-and-nationally-normed-tests-by-donna-garner/


3.20.23  -- “Possible Major Problem with School Choice, Voucher Bills in Tex. Lege”  -- by Donna Garner -- https://donnagarner.org/3-20-23-possible-major-problem-with-school-choice-voucher-bills-in-tex-lege/