Prep or Pay: Aledo ISD Threatens Fines for STAAR Prep

According to parents, an Aledo ISD 4th grade class has been told to prep or pay!  While this is extreme (and in fact may reflect some type of fake reward money), the obsession with testing and test prep leaps off the page at you.  Consider this the next time someone tells you that STAAR prep isn’t driving the curriculum:

  1. Every day  a seven question prep packet goes home to the student.  Every single day.  During the course of the run up to STAAR, you can expect almost 200 STAAR prep questions from math class alone, without respect to any homework based on the actual curriculum!
  2. Some of the questions, which will be graded, will come from material that has not been taught yet!! How is this sound educational practice?  If we want a student to learn something, TEACH IT!
  3. Extensive classroom time will be taken up going over STAAR prep questions every single day! 
  4. Consequences attach to not completing the STAAR prep.  Because nothing says learning like threats and punishment.  Remember, monetary fines!
  5. Parents are instructed not to help their kids and in fact to specifically deny help.  Why?  Because that is how the STAAR does it.

The mindset behind these spring STAAR policies is as warped as the curriculum.  Aledo ISD should denounce this ill conceived plan and focus on learning, not prepping for standardized assessments.

Please see the update here.

10 Comments

  1. Beth Ramsey

    Aledo ISD is a prime example of board members interested in doing what they’re told….not what is best for the students. This test is a waste of time and money. Let teachers teach and test what they’ve taught.

  2. Jessica VonderHaar

    This article is very misleading. Please do some research before posting information that will cause unnecessary drama.

    1. admin

      Aledo ISD was asked for a comment and failed to respond. Please feel free to provide information. If you don’t want drama, don’t send out information that will cause drama when read by a member of the general public or worse yet a parent in your district.

  3. Colby Caldwell

    You know nothing of the classroom structure these teachers employ every day. You know nothing of their hearts, relationships with children, or abilities. You have the courage to put strangers on blast, yet lack the courage to attach your name to this piece, you cowardly ****.

    1. admin

      I specifically did not identify the elementary school or the names of the teachers because as ill-advised and poorly thought out I believe this approach is, I am certain the teachers are acting under pressure from campus and/or district administration. The unrealistic expectations attached to STAAR often cause good people to make bad decisions. Sending this out was a bad decision, no matter their heart, relationship with children or abilities. Thank you for your input.

    1. admin

      That makes it OK? That possibility was discussed in the article. However the plain language of the letter says what it says and says it for a reason.

      Perhaps Aledo ISD should issue an official statement clarifying this poor communication and disavowing it.

  4. Sherrilyn Williams

    I taught the money system to my students while using it as a reward and fines system. They got “paid” according to their attendance (just like a real job). If they had late papers they were “fined” (just like a traffic ticket etc in real life – a “set-back”). At the end of the grading period we had a “store” where they could purchase items. They were taught how to balance their checkbook along the way.
    This is real life being taught…
    Aledo may not be a Title 1 school district, so I don’t see the problem. Parents in many Title 1 schools work 2 jobs to make ends meet or there is only one parent, etc. This forces the schools to have to pick up the pieces to help. Sometimes that means teaching these kind of things to students in order to work with parents to raise students who will be productive in society.
    This paper that is being quoted, doesn’t specify the “fine”. Maybe parents should just ask the administration what’s going on… step up…. get clarification rather than assume.

    1. admin

      Nothing about STAAR is real life. This was a bad idea probably born of good intentions, but in an atmosphere that is clearly STAAR focused. This is evident given the district’s backtracking that is going on.

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