Real STAAR Tips: How “Hustle Mom” Comes Up Short

Dallas area blogger “Hustle Mom” aka Dawn Monroe has come up with a handy dandy list of tips for parents to help their kids excel on STAAR, and at the same time makes a gratuitous (or not) plug for family-centered McDonalds.

Despite apparently recognizing that “[t]eachers and students prepare for this test all year long, and the stress it often brings is enough to fill the entire state,” Hustle Mom wants to make sure you eek out those last extra points on STAAR.  She gives handy tips like study old STAAR assessments and don’t stress your kid out. Great tips, but it’s just a start.  Here’s my comment to Hustle Mom, which I am going to guess she won’t approve for posting on her blog.

This list is a great start, but let me add a few other suggestions to really make sure your kid does great on STAAR.

#1. Start working an extra job or increase your employability. Since STAAR results have shown to most closely align with the socio-economic status of the family, you can really give your kid a boost by bringing home a little more bacon each week.  See generally “The Widening Income Achievement Gap

#2. Don’t waste time reading books with your kid. STAAR only tests “close reading” of very brief passages. So rather than waste valuable parent-child time bonding over bedtime stories, or encouraging your child to engage his mind and imagination with juvenile fiction, try to vary each night 3-6 paragraph selections of non-fiction and fiction, and come up with your own multiple choice questions. Fun for the whole family!

#3. Practice bubbling. We all know that most employers are insistent on knowing how you did on your elementary level standardized assessments. I keep my results laminated in my wallet, don’t you? Since stray marks can count against kids, it’s time to put away coloring books or the watercolor set and really focus on fully darkening ovals, but not going outside the lines! Let’s face it. Isn’t competitiveness in today’s world marked by not going outside the lines?

#4. Learn not to be dyslexic (or a non-native speaker). If your child is really serious about STAAR success, some extra sacrifice may be required. Since the failure rates of students with learning disabilities and English language learners are exponentially higher than general ed students, if your kid is one of those unlucky ones, work really hard with them to not be dyslexic or to grow up speaking only English. Sure they take the same assessment as anyone else, but the TEA gives them special accommodations. Mind you the research shows that those accommodations only help general ed students not their target group. LOL! Man, the STAAR is full of irony. So if you really want your kid to do well, make sure you teach them to stop being dyslexic.

If none of those ideas will work for you, you might just want to Opt Out and enjoy life during the STAAR days!

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