AUSTIN (AP) — The Texas Education Agency says the state could violate federal rules if lawmakers pulled funding for standardized testing.

Agency spokeswoman Debbie Ratcliffe said Tuesday that a Texas House budget proposal to defund state exams is the first she could recall. Standardized testing has taken place in Texas classrooms since 1980.

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The Texas House budget proposal for 2014-15 provides no funds for the standardized test known as STAAR. Students statewide began taking STAAR last school year.

A preliminary Senate budget, however, includes about $94 million annually for it.

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The final state budget will look very different than the proposals.

Ratcliffe said No Child Left Behind laws require elementary, middle and high school testing.

Proposals to defund STAAR could spark larger debate on what critics call the state’s over-reliance on standardized testing.

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