Posts Tagged ‘HB 743’

Arnold & Placek Comments on Local ISD Use of STAAR Results

Written by A&P News on June 10th, 2016. Posted in News

Arnold & Placek currently represents four parents from across the state of Texas in Lewis, et al. v. Morath, a lawsuit pending in Travis County District Court seeking a declaration that this 2016 STAAR assessments for grades 3-8 did not comply with the time completion standards of the Texas Education Code.  The suit seeks various relief including relief from retention standards, accelerated instruction, and accountability requirements to the extent that such is based on the results of these invalid assessments.  Earlier today, the Texas Education Agency issued a ruling detaching many of the consequences associated with these STAAR results from Grade 5 and Grade 8 assessments.  Determinations at other grade levels are pending.

Nonetheless, the TEA appears to have passed to local districts the discretion to offer accelerated instruction to its students based on these results.

Arnold & Placek, P.C. urges local school districts not to take any punitive or remedial actions against 3rd through 8th grade students as a result of 2016 STAAR assessments.  Regardless of the Texas Education Agency’s stated reason for detaching consequences from the STAAR, the fact remains that these assessments did not comply with the completion time standards of HB 743 and as a result are not valid STAAR assessments.  Although the TEA has left decisions to local districts regarding the use of the assessments for determining accelerated instruction, any attempt by a district to mandate participation in accelerated instruction or take any punitive or remedial action against a student based on these assessment results would invite affected parents to join the pending litigation and add the local district as a defendant.  This would be an irresponsible use of taxpayer money when the TEA has already disclaimed the reliability and validity of these results.

Arnold & Placek Sues TEA On Behalf of Parents Challenging 2016 STAAR Results

Written by A&P News on May 22nd, 2016. Posted in News

Arnold & Placek, P.C. has filed suit against Texas Education Agency commissioner Mike Morath for declaratory judgment relating to the failure of the TEA to comply with the requirements of HB 743 in the design of STAAR assessments administered to over 2,000,000 Texas students in grades 3-8.  Four parents of Texas students subject to penalties resulting from these illegal assessments are asking a Travis County district court to declare that these assessments do not comply with section 39.023 of the Education Code. They are seeking both declaratory and injunctive relief to prevent the TEA from penalizing, or requiring that districts penalize, students based on these illegally obtained results. They are seeking to prevent the results from being used for district or campus level accountability as well.

In 2015, the Texas legislature passed legislation requiring that the STAAR assessments be designed in such a way that (a) 85% of students in grades 3-5 could finish the assessments in less than two hours, and (b) 85% of students in grades 6-8 could finish the assessments in less than three hours.  Governor Abbot signed the bill into law on June 19, 2015.  Because the law was passed on an emergency basis, it took effect immediately.

However, when Texas students took the assessments over nine months later, the TEA had failed to change the design of the assessments, relying on the previous design with a four hour completion time.  Existing time studies demonstrate that the TEA knew these assessments would not be in compliance with HB 743.  Despite this, the TEA is insisting that school districts use the results to promote and retain students, assign them to summer school or other extra instruction, and that the districts themselves be rated for accountability purposes using the results from these illegally designed assessments.

Additional information regarding this suit is available below.

Press Conference:

Monday, May 23, 2016
10:30 a.m.
Outside the TEA Offices at 1701 N. Congress Ave., Austin, Texas

The press conference will be held on the sidewalk on the northeast corner of the intersection of 17th and Congress (the southwest corner of the block containing the TEA offices)

Availability:  Scott Placek, lead counsel for Plaintiffs; Ben Becker, Chairman, Committee to Stop STAAR

Media inquiries should be referred to Ben Becker at 254-744-5174.

Media Resources

The Committee to Stop STAAR has established a website at to track the progress of the litigation.  The committee website is not affiliated with Arnold & Placek, P.C.

Committee to Stop STAAR Press Release (5/22/16)

Plaintiff’s Original Petition in Lewis et al. v. Morath

Prepared Remarks of Scott Placek on Filing of HB 743 Litigation