Categories
STAAR | EOC Testing

STAAR Madness: TEA or Local Decisions

This is a tough time for Opt Out parents because the assessment is happening and there is a lot of pushback. When complaints come, the natural response is to blame the TEA.  But is that fair?  Is that accurate?  Everybody here understands that the TEA tells schools how to administer the assessment and to score refused assessments. Everyone here understands how promotion and graduation work. What people fail to acknowledge is that, apart from that, schools have wide latitude in how they choose to respond to parents who refuse assessment.  There are many things I have seen excused as TEA “requirements” that just aren’t.

NOBODY requires schools to lie to parents about consequences.
NOBODY requires schools to benchmark, practice assess and otherwise do full or mini-assessments as prep for STAAR multiple times a semester.
NOBODY requires schools to go beyond the instructions and add restrictions on to the students (like requiring them to sit for four hours after finishing/refusing assessment),
NOBODY requires schools to threaten retention
NOBODY requires schools to pretend passing STAAR is the only way to get promoted to the next grade.
NOBODY requires schools to not check if substitute assessments have already satisfied some EOC requirements.
NOBODY requires schools to try to bully A/B students into summer school (I mean test prep) because they didn’t take STAAR.
NOBODY requires principals to try to intimidate parents into submitting their kids for assessment.
NOBODY requires schools to wait until August to promote kids by GPC if they refused STAAR.
NOBODY requires schools to harass parents of kids who aren’t at school on STAAR day.
NOBODY requires teachers to tell students they their jobs depend on how the student does on STAAR.
NOBODY requires schools to lock down the building and ban visitors on STAAR days.
NOBODY requires schools to tell students they can’t talk to their parents about STAAR.
NOBODY requires students to eat sack lunches at their desk on STAAR days.
NOBODY requires schools to keep non-testing kids inside and ban recess on STAAR days.

and

NOBODY requires schools to offer even a single make up day for STAAR, much less a two week window!!!

These are all local decisions and it is not off limits to talk about. We opt out because we want you to have the freedom to teach. But we expect local districts to do what they can (and that’s a lot) to make sure that it does not make the STAAR environment worse than it already is. If your school or district is doing any of those things, and you try to blame the TEA for it, then you are going to get pushback here, because it’s false information.

 

Categories
STAAR | EOC Testing

Opt Out Wall of Shame – The Districts

Nominate your district: txedrights@gmail.com

Round Rock ISD

In order to entice a refusing student to take STAAR, an assistant principal told a 5th grade student that she had just spoken to his mother who had called and wanted him to take it.  The child was only at school because the mother had called and asked if there were makeup tests that day.  After putting her on hold, the office told her there were no makeup.  The school denied that she ever called, but was confronted with cell phone records detailing the call. (2014)

Medina Valley ISD

Upon hearing that a parent might not let her 3rd grader take STAAR, the teacher first advised the child that she had no choice and would have to take STAAR.  After the parent told the child that wasn’t true and just to direct the teacher to speak with the parent.  The teacher told the child that her mother would be arrested if the tried to help the child avoid STAAR. (Fall 2019)

Categories
STAAR | EOC Testing

Opt Out Hall of Fame – The Districts

Waco ISD

The district worked with parents to create on campus alternate activities to STAAR testing.

Houston ISD

Created a district refusal procedure that promises no adverse action against students for opting out.

Austin ISD

Created in office refusal for opt out kids, allowing them to refuse assessment with parent witnessing, and return to class on the first makeup day.  This was a negotiated agreement after parents retained counsel.

Peaster ISD

A campus principal called an opt out parent whose kid was on campus on a make up day to let the parent know that they needed to pick the child up to avoid having the assessment presented to the child.