This is a tough time for Opt Out parents because the assessment is happening and there is a lot of pushback at the school level. Sadly, this year more than ever it seems a number of school district employees have entered the TTAAS Facebook group intent on excusing every complaint a parent has. WRONG strategy this week. Just empathize. Empathize and don’t deflect. 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. If a parent complaint hurts and you respond by blaming the TEA for a local decision, I (and likely others) am going to challenge you. In the same vein, when a parent blames a school for a TEA mandate, we are quick to correct them as well. But there are many things I have seemed excused as TEA “requirements” that just aren’t.
NOBODY requires schools to lie to parents about consequences.
NOBODY requires schools to go beyond the instructions and add restrictions on to the students,
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 is 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 hold students who have finished their STAAR in the classroom until the end of the entire testing time.
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.
These are all local decisions, and if you think it is off limits to talk about that, we are not on the same side at all. 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. If your distrct makes bad local decisions, CHANGE them. If you think they are correct, OWN them. Don’t push the blame onto the TEA for local decisions. We have plenty of things to blame the TEA for without getting into things they haven’t done.