STAAR returns in 2021 and other takeaways on the state of Texas education

If Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath has any say in the matter — and he most definitely does, the state’s battery of standardized tests will resume in the spring despite pleas to suspend the assessments for the 2020-21 school year.

Morath shared those thoughts in a virtual fireside chat at Friday’s State of Public Education luncheon, held by the Dallas Regional Chamber.

Here are a few takeaways that Morath and four local educational leaders — Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa, Plano ISD Superintendent Sara Bonser, Richardson ISD Superintendent Jeannie Stone and Dallas ISD board president Justin Henry — made during the 90-minute presentation, moderated by The Dallas Morning News‘ deputy publisher Leona Allen Ford:

STAAR returns

The shutdown of public schools in mid-March because of the COVID-19 pandemic led Gov. Greg Abbott to waive the administration requirements for the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, tests

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Senate returns to stalled stimulus talks and government funding deadline

STIMULUS STALEMATEAnd we’re back! The Senate returns to Washington today after its summer recess, with a government funding deadline looming and Republicans looking to revive the stalled stimulus talks by pushing a new “skinny” proposal. But lawmakers only have a few weeks before they leave town again for the campaign trail, and as of right now, the path to a coronavirus deal is narrow at best and going nowhere at worst.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell doesn’t even have 51 votes for the Senate GOP’s pared back coronavirus bill yet, let alone the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster, per my colleagues. And some Senate Republicans want to include language related to “school choice” programs, further complicating McConnell’s effort to round up GOP support for the package. (Though our friends at Playbook report that the White House will embrace a $1.5 trillion price tag this week, which represents some

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