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Texas lawmakers approve bill that funds virtual learning, but not for students who didn't pass STAAR test

Posted at 8:11 AM, Sep 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-02 09:11:43-04

KILLEEN, Texas — COVID-19 cases in KISD took a step in the wrong direction this week. The district now reports 354 active cases among students and staff, a 49% jump since Monday. More than 280 of the cases are students.

“I have to go and get my daughters tested. I have to go to get tested. My husband has to get tested. I also have to inform anybody that was around us or came into my home,” said Artainia Dove, whose son tested positive Wednesday.

Dove said the virus is dangerous for the family because her son has asthma and she is a cancer survivor. With no mask mandate or virtual learning option in KISD, Dove is worried the situation will only get worse.

“They’re getting sicker, more children are getting it they need something,” said Dove.

Texas lawmakers approved an active special session bill to provide money for virtual learning, but it excludes students who failed their STAAR exams. Nearly 40% of Texas students failed the math section and almost a third failed the reading, the majority Black and Hispanic.

“We’re placing too much importance on a test that wasn’t meant to determine. It wasn’t meant to be the most important determining factor of student success,” said Killeen parent and teacher Jennifer Lee.

“I don’t think they should throw a stipulation in there like that. It’s a lot of students that may have underlying health conditions and benefit from being able to learn virtually,” said Dove.

According to a recent study by the CDC, African Americans and Hispanics are nearly three times as likely to get hospitalized and twice as likely to die from COVID-19. It’s why some parents said all children need the opportunity to learn at home.