LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - District 7 State Representative Jay Dean has been involved in over 50 bills which he supports and hopes eventually become state law. He has also authored several himself. Dean talks about about a few of them, including one that would suspend the STAAR test during times of declared disaster.
Jay Dean believes in HB 2802 which would eliminate the STAAR test during declared emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic.
“A large portion of kids were not in school. We know remote learning does not work very well,” Dean said.
Dean and many educators feel students are better able to focus if they are in a classroom with a teacher. And some students who remain at home are cut off.
“Lower socio-economic kids; they don’t have the internet, they don’t have any way to do this virtual learning,” Dean said.
So in a declared emergency when students have the potential to fall behind, Dean wants a change for STAAR testing.
“During those situations we put that off to the side and we try to get the kids back in the school and give them some time. Let things get back to as much to normal as possible, and then we take a look at it,” Dean said.
He says HB 2800 asks to meet federal guidelines rather than exceed them.
“It’s kind of like social studies and some of these different subject matters. Why are we testing that when the feds don’t expect us to do that? If schools want to teach those various subjects, fine. But let’s don’t force this upon the student as far as the testing program,” Dean said.
Another bill Dean is sponsoring is HB 6 which relates to voting integrity, especially in mail-in ballots, in light of four people charged with voter fraud in Gregg County.
“We found that during the investigation by the Attorney General’s Office, of the four people that are currently charged, that a large number of those ballots were sent in showing disability, but not defining and describing what a disability is,” Dean said.
Dean would like to see stiffer penalties for voting offenses.
HB 2802 dealing with STAAR testing during emergency declaration is now out of committee. HB 2800 is waiting to go to committee, and HB 6, voter integrity, is presently in committee.