Dear Schools: Stop Lying about Math STAAR

Tonight, I again received a question from a parent whose 8th grade child had been told by a teacher that they would fail 8th grade if they did not pass the Math STAAR test. This is about the fifth report of this that I have heard this year.

To recap, the State of Texas implemented new Math TEKS this year. This resulted in pushing down math instruction sometimes by as much as two grade levels. Thankfully, the Texas Education Agency did the right thing and suspended the requirement that 5th and 8th graders pass the STAAR covering all this new material in order to qualify for promotion to the next grade. In other words, Math STAAR doesn’t matter for promotion this year.

Still, teachers and principals are telling students they will be retained if they don’t pass. This is untrue. It is clearly designed to scare kids and parents into taking and performing well on the STAAR math assessment. The belief underlying this approach is that without a punishment, students cannot learn. This is a very primitive and disturbing educational philosophy and seems to totally ignore the physical and psychological manifestations that STAAR stress has put on our kids.

It’s time to stop the lying and the pressure and get back to learning for the sake of learning. If your child’s school is threatening retention based on STAAR math results this year, please report it to TPERN using our Incident Report form.

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