A Great Refusal Letter

Here is refusal letter a mom from GPISD shared with us! I’d love to see how the school responds to this!

Dear (school name protected) Administrators and Teachers:
My name is [parent name]. I’m a mother of a 5th grader in GPISD. It was suggested to me that I contact you to discuss my concerns about STAAR testing. I will be honest about how I feel about STAAR, but I seek guidance about how to approach the issues at hand. I don’t like the STAAR test, I don’t agree with and I certainly don’t approve of the curriculum that comes with it. As I mentioned, my daughter is in 5th grade and was diagnosed with double-deficit Dyslexia late last year. Since that time, she has failed all of her STAAR tests. The stress she’s already feeling about testing causes her to lose sleep, get headaches and stomach aches. She spends more time than her peers just trying to keep up, but still is falling behind. I have pushed to have her tested for other learning disabilities and that is in the works, but hasn’t happened yet. She has two first year teachers this year, one for reading, one for math and her science teacher has been out on maternity leave, so she has had a sub the last few weeks. She went several weeks without any math instruction at all because her Dyslexia class interfered with instructional time for math.
As a parent, I feel that it is my responsibility to protect my children from anything I deem as harmful and I strongly feel that the STAAR test is harmful, not only for my child, but for EVERY child, however, I only have the ability to protect my own. I don’t want my daughter to take the test, but I also understand that she’s in a “critical” year for testing, which puts me in a quandry. It is my understanding that the 5th grade kids must pass reading this year to be promoted to 6th grade. Based on what I’ve seen with the homework she brings home and the struggles she has with it, I feel pretty certain that she won’t pass it. Nor do I feel she will pass the math or science! The structure of this test is developmentally inappropriate for their ages! I have two older children and neither of them, nor myself, are capable of understanding some of the assignments nor the method of teaching that is being conveyed to my 5th grader, and I assure you that it’s not due to lack of intelligence!
This assessment means absolutely nothing to me. It doesn’t measure intelligence, nor does it measure teaching or learning ability, so why is it so critical? Because the State says it is!
Here’s my quandry…I know what my rights are, but I want to know what stance GPISD takes and if her school and district administrators will support my daughter and I or are they going to fight us.
Do I allow my child to take the test, knowing the physical, emotional and psychological damage it causes her along with the physical illness it creates, knowing the likelihood of her passing is slim, or do I do what my maternal instinct is telling me and refuse for her to take it? Will I have support from GPISD or will GPISD challenge me, making things even more difficult for my daughter and myself? Do I continue to allow my daughter to be made to feel like she doesn’t matter, that she has no value because she can’t pass an insignificant test? I have always taught my children to stand up for what they believe in and what is right, even if that means they stand alone, so doesn’t that mean I should lead by example? I have always taught my children to always do their best in everything they do. Do I allow my daughter to continue to feel like a failure, even though she is doing her best? Is GPISD going to tell my daughter that her best isn’t good enough?
I feel that whatever direction I choose to go, it could potentially negatively impact my daughter and I don’t want that. She faces more than enough challenges at this age and certainly doesn’t need anymore.
The more I write, the more concrete I feel in making my decision. I must use my voice to protect my child until she is capable of using her own. With all due respect (and I DO highly respect each of you and your positions), please let this serve as formal notice that my daughter, (name protected) will abstain from taking any and all STAAR tests this year.
Please know that I have not made my decision lightly. In fact, it has caused me a great deal of turmoil. However, I must do what I feel is best for my daughter and since GPISD is funded by the State of Texas and must follow their rules, I’m taking that power away and making the decision myself. My daughter’s self-worth cannot be measured by a test score or monetary value. I only hope that one day, the State of Texas and GPISD will feel the same way and allow the school administrators and educators to do their jobs and provide our children the true education that they so richly deserve.
Please advise me in advance of what instruction will be provided for her on testing days and feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
Respectfully,
[Mom]

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