Following publication of the “monetary fines” letter on txedrights and extensive discussion on social media, the administration at the Aledo ISD elementary school that conceived the program has revisited the punitive approach and decided instead to implement the program with a focus on encouraging students. TPERN is pleased to see that the program has been reconsidered and modified to be non-punitive in nature. We hope this incident gives occasion to reflect upon how the pressure to perform on STAAR impacts the learning environment for principals, teachers, parents and students alike.
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:
- 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!
- 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!
- Extensive classroom time will be taken up going over STAAR prep questions every single day!
- Consequences attach to not completing the STAAR prep. Because nothing says learning like threats and punishment. Remember, monetary fines!
- 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.