thousands of San Antonio students have been told to report to school instead of summer jobs, vacations
The new STAAR test continues to be a nightmare for Texas school districts, which have now been forced to open schools which should be closed for the summer, and pay teachers who should be on summer vacation, to provide state-ordered remedial education to tens of thousands of ninth graders who flunked one of the five end of course STAAR exams, 1200 WOAI news reports.
And on top of this nightmare, Pascual Gonzalez of the San Antonio Northside ISD says schools weren't told who flunked until last week.
"Northside counselors have been working the phones calling the students, and their parents, trying to find all of the students who failed one of more of the five tests, and telling them they have to return to school," he said.
Since the state requires 13 days of remedial education for STAAR test flunkers, that means all of these kids had to put summer jobs on hold, and many families were forced at the very last second to cancel or reschedule summer vacations.
Then there's the matter of facilities and teachers. Gonzalez says Northside generally holds summer school in one school building, which allows all of the district's resources, from teachers to custodians to concentrate on that one building. But he points out that the Legislature required that all of the remedial programs be offered 'at the student's own school.'
"We are opening twelve high schools, running the air conditioners, hiring hundreds of teachers, to run this intense program."
Second chance STAAR tests will be offered July 6th, Gonzalez said. By that time, more than a month of summer vacation has been lost.
And on top of all these requirements from the Legislature, Gonzalez says lawmakers came up with zero funding to pay for it all.
"You would think that if a government entity, in this case the Legislature of Texas passes a new law like this, they ought to pay for it."
Gonzalez says it's easy to say you have 'balanced your budget' when you simply pass along costs like this to local property tax payers. He says this STAAR test requirement is costing Northside three quarters of a million dollars. And multiply that by more than 1,000 school districts statewide.