Texas High School Fires Teacher For Asking Students About STAAR Test Information

A teacher has been fired from Samuel Clemens High School after an investigation shows that he asked students to write down information that they remember seeing on the STAAR test.

Gary D. Fagan was fired from Samuel Clemens High School for asking students about information from the STAAR test.
Gary D. Fagan was fired from Samuel Clemens High School for asking students about information from the STAAR test.

Gary D. Fagan had worked in the school district for almost 10 years. He was a sociology teacher at Clemens, located in Schertz, Texas. He was fired after someone told the principal that Fagan had given students a piece of paper and told them to write down 10 things that they remembered from the state mandated test.

Fagan, like all teachers in the state of Texas, had taken a sworn oath stating that he would not discuss any information about the STAAR test.

While he may have broken the rules, some teachers think that his actions should not have resulted in him losing his job.

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Opting Out of the STAAR Test is an Option for Some

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When STAAR testing dates roll around some parents around Texas are keeping their children at home. A Baylor professor has even made an online opt-out letter to help protest standardized testing. Most fear that their child will not advance to the next grade if they do not take the state-mandated test. That may not be the case.

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The Texas Education Agency (TEA) says that it is illegal for a parent to not allow their child to take the test. Should it? One parent doesn’t think so.

Lack of Progress Could End Standardized Tests

When the STAAR test was implemented, many believed it would show the same positive results as the TAKS test.

The TAKS test was a standardized test that was given out to students before the STAAR test was implemented. STAAR was supposed to be the new and improved version of standardized testing in Texas, but the results have not met those expectations.

Progress has not been made in STAAR scores.
Progress has not been made in STAAR scores.

STAAR was a hot topic in candidate debates leading up to last weeks election. One candidate even referred to the test as “useless.”

Newly elected governor Greg Abbott said STAAR may not be the right way to judge students progress in the classroom.

“We may have a broken thermometer, the STAAR test, that is no longer doing a good job of measuring,” Abbott said.

Click here to read more about why test scores for STAAR are on the decline.

-Cody Empkey

Standardized Tests, Not Prep Work, Limited With New Law

Protesters gather to express their displeasure with standardized testing.
Protesters gather to express their displeasure with standardized testing.

In 2013, Texas legislators passed House Bill 5 which reduced the amount of standardized test students would have to take.

The law had a provision in it that limited the amount of time educators could spend preparing for a test. It also reduced the amount of practice tests educators were allowed to administer throughout the school year.

A year later, educators have found a loophole in the system.

Click here to learn more.

-Cody Empkey