Parents Push Back Against STAAR Tests…
Parents are pushing back against STAAR Tests, kids are strung out, teachers are exasperated…….and School Districts are responding.While I disagree with the attention-seeking actions some parents have taken in their quest to shelter their children from what some parents think are horrible injustices their children are subjected to (note my utter snark), perhaps some of that public fit-throwing has some benefits. (Though I assure you, I won’t give anyone who causes a huge stupid scene any kind of pat on the back…but I’ve digressed.) As a parent whose 3rd grade daughter had a pretty strong physical reaction to the stress she was managing during March and April (heavy testing months in Texas for 3rd graders) I TOTALLY get the need for some reform. So does my pocket-book – all the Dr appts she had during March/April were pretty $$$ but necessary to help manage her stress-related upper GI issues. Oh, the joy of parenting children through the public school experience. (In other words, we didn’t deal with GI Dr’s when we were home schooling… just saying….and… I’ve digressed again.) But, Texas school parents, it looks like there is a bit of a change on the horizon. As school districts take the step forward to advocate for their students, parents and teachers, things WILL change. I do believe it is ultimately the PARENTS responsibility to drive this change, but it certainly can’t hurt when your local Superintendent has your back!
Paris ISD Minimizes Importance of STAAR
Paul Jones, Superintendent Paris ISD
Paul Jones, Superintendent of Paris ISD, published the following update with regards to the STAAR Test Results on the district website just this past week, and the bullet points cannot go without a huge blog-applause from me!
- These results [are] not the end-all of your child’s learning for the year.
- These assessments … reflect a punitive; one size fits all test-driven system.
- Our students are much more than a once-a-year pencil and bubble sheet test.
- Your child means immeasurably more than just a number generated in Austin.
- We all know students do not master skills at the same rate; each individual child has their strengths and weaknesses.
- Many of our students play sports, play musical instruments, dance, sing, speak multiple languages, write and perform poetry or songs, and create amazing works of art.
- We have students working multiple jobs at night to help support their family.
- Many of our students are the main caregivers for younger siblings late into the evening hours
- Our classrooms are reflective of a multi-faceted student involved in a wide variety of activities, both academic and extra-curricular. It is not just drill and kill for one test.….(STAAR)…. assesses how your child performs on a single day…
- Unfortunately, bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. and Austin have designed a one-size-fits-all assessment system that doesn’t necessarily reflect your individual child’s growth and achievements.
- Our students, not the state assessment, will be our main focus and top priority.
- So…let’s not let the STAAR test overshadow what is truly important–each individual child.
- Let us not forget to celebrate the vast and numerous accomplishments and successes the students of PISD have achieved this school year. It has been a great one!
I cannot express how excited I was to read the following statements from Paris ISD (north of Dallas.) Honestly the whole post is so awesome, it was really hard to NOT just repost all the content here!
Hudson ISD Posts Message About the STAAR Test
Mary Ann Whiteker, Superintendent, Hudson ISD
Mary Ann Whiteker, Superintendent at Hudson ISD, released the following statement which is also worthy of a blog-applause!
- Two years ago, Hudson ISD began a new journey with a focus on quality learning rather than a test driven system (STAAR test) that is demoralizing to students and staff. (emphasis mine)
- Our students are more than one test.
- Their achievements must be determined by a multitude of accomplishments throughout the year, celebrating academic growth as well as mastery of skills, co-curricular and extra-curricular accolades, experiencing new opportunities/challenges.
- Hudson ISD…was built on recognizing the value of each child, nurturing the natural gifts each child brings to school, discovering and developing creativity and curiosity, preparing students for life-long learning.
- Thanks to the support of the Hudson ISD Board of Trustees and Staff, the district has rediscovered the “science and art” of teaching and learning.
- Our classrooms are reflecting quality student and teacher engagement, not drill and kill for one test.
- Hudson ISD will use the [STAAR Test] assessment data [as] a diagnostic instrument for identifying areas for intervention…(and)…enrichment.
- Individual student data will be aligned with local assessment data to develop educational plans that insure continued progress for our students.
- Our children, not the state assessment, will be our top priority. Instruction will focus on preparing all students for success in a 21st century global economy.
Is STAAR Test Change Coming For Texas School Parents, Students & Teachers?
If you read each statement in its entirety, you’ll notice glaring similarities with key phrases. This makes me wonder … is there some kind of shift about to happen with Texas school districts? Will there be more of a push back from districts? Will we start to see a return to true academics, learning, and advancement in the classrooms? Maybe the landscape is starting to change. My high schooler has less state testing requirements than my 3rd grader; I’d like to see the testing schedule for elementary students reduced to allow more time for teaching, more time for learning, and more time for the development of the whole child. We can always hope!
What to Do if You Don’T Want Your Kid to Take the STAAR Test Next Year
This Featured Article from the Texas C-Scope Review site is chock-full of great info for steps you can take to keep your kid out of the testing room.
Many thanks to Alizon Duckwall from C&D Editing for the heads up on this topic! (Also, if you need a professional editor that’s my go-to reference!)