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STAAR testing glitches could lead to another lawsuit

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It's too early to tell the impact of Tuesday's online glitches on the STAAR assessment, but the people behind a lawsuit already in front of the courts say this year's problems are just the latest in a string of issues -- and another lawsuit may follow. (CBS Austin)

It's too early to tell the impact of Tuesday's online glitches on the STAAR assessment, but the people behind a lawsuit already in front of the courts say this year's problems are just the latest in a string of issues -- and another lawsuit may follow.

The online glitches in the STAAR test Tuesday weren't the first. "If it keeps going on there will definitely be another lawsuit," said Diane Lewis, whose daughter is in seventh grade.

Online glitches happened in 2016, too. The ongoing problems are part of the reason Lewis' daughter isn't taking the STAAR assessment this week. "I just informed the school she was opting out, she would not be in school the rest of the week," Lewis said.

Lewis is one of a handful of families suing the Texas Education Agency (TEA) over the 2016 STAAR, accusing the agency of illegally administering a test that was too long. "There's a 2015 law that required that the STAAR assessments be shortened," she said.

Round Rock attorney Scott Placek is the lawyer representing the families. He's also the administrator of the Texans Take Action Against STAAR page on Facebook. It's not out of the question that the online glitches could also lead to a lawsuit. "We'd really just have to see what impact it had. At this point it's hard to say," Placek said.

A TEA spokeswoman said in an email, "To our knowledge, no student data was lost. We're still in the analysis timeframe of this issue, so it's really too early to say."

But both Lewis and Placek say the glitches are just a symptom, of an assessment that needs to go away. " I look at the 40 years of assessment in Texas and I see an utter failure, and if we don't reverse course it's going to be a downward spiral," said Placek.

Lewis tells me there will be a protest against the STAAR in August and that school district leaders from around the state will be there.

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