STAAR Testing Will Make You Question Your Parenting Skills

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Hannah failed her 5th gr. STAAR reading test by TWO QUESTIONS related to inferencing / abstract thinking. Hannah has a diagnosed learning disability (?) that centers around … you guessed it… abstract language concepts. The fact that she ALMOST passed taking the STAAR test without modifications was good enough for me!!

However, because the school has to help her knock the re-test out of the water, they‘ve isolated her in a small reading group almost all day long for every day for the next 2 weeks. EVERY subject she is studying has now been reduced to reading passages with comprehension questions. Because 2 weeks of this will definitely make up for her diagnosed language / learning challenge.HAHAHAHAH OK WHATEVER!!

Naturally, at first, I felt this was seriously unfair to her. She worked hard and really – how can she master something like this when she has a known issue?  So yes, I wanted to throw a bit of a fit about this, but you know what?!  My kid is LOVING IT!!!  Seriously!!  So the intervention group is her, 7 other students and ONE teacher. They are immersed in reading/comprehension practice ALL DAY LONG and she‘s LOVING it. The one-on-one attention, the reduced behaviour issues b/c of the small student-teacher ratio, the quiet, focused workflow, the structured learning…plus it’s reading which she loves…she’s having a GREAT time!
Sure wish I could replicate that kind of classroom for her all the time. She’d absolutely thrive – I bet she would advance by leaps and bounds.
But yes, my initial reaction was to push back and say, “No – she‘s not going to be punished b/c of 2 questions…” But I thought, “Wait…she has to learn to slow down and triple check her answers on tests. This is GREAT preparation for tests that really DO matter like SATs.” (Honestly: I think STAAR tests are a waste of time.) So, I chose the non-neurotic path of helping her push forward instead of refusing to comply which would make her more nervous.

And you know what – she’s totally rocking it.

I don’t know about everyone else, but it’s been my experience for the past 17 years that I have a 
GREAT no…powerful….ability to lead my kids through situations and help them overcome adversity and obstacles, with an optimistic outlook on things – and an expectation towards success.  I can also just as easily disable them with my own need to be a controlling, somewhat over-protective, immediately reactive, hovering parent by “standing up” for my kids (which actually just looks like a bratty adult throwing a huge hissy fit over the most ridiculous issues like… standardized testing.)

STAAR testing will NOT change how you parent your children. But YOU can change your parenting when you stop and take a step back from the hype of the anti-STAAR activists, the conflated ‘injustices’ of public school administration, and the offensive money trail that IS in fact all that standardized testing – and focus on what you can do today, to help your children succeed in spite of the unfairness of their little lives. The goal for me is to help them OVER their hurdles instead of making excuses for them to avoid hardships. At least for the last 3 years anyway. (I was once that obnoxious parent noted above.)

In shifting how I approach parenting issues, I have find myself to be a better parent, I have watched my children overcome some difficult situations, and in the end – overall – everyone’s stress levels have been greatly diminished. Everyone is much happier within this more balanced and real-life approach to parenting/family living.If you feel strongly that STAAR is a horrible experience for your children and you want to change the system – then work to change the system.

In the meantime, you can actually help your children to succeed IN SPITE OF your own strongholds against rigorous testing schedules and without making a public spectacle of yourself.
~~stepping off soap box~~

2 thoughts on “STAAR Testing Will Make You Question Your Parenting Skills

  1. AWESOME PARENTING AWARD GOES TO SARAH PRESSLER!!!

    That’s what I’m talking about! That’s how to be a good parent. When we don’t freak out over stuff, they won’t either. When we make the best of things, we teach them to do the same. If we all we do is whine about the injustices of life, they will go around making excuses too. Buck up people! Have a happy life! You can do it!

    WE HAVE THE POWER!!

    OK. I’m psyched now, hahahahaha!

    1. Buck up is right!!!!

      It’s hard to let our kids go through tough stuff – but it’s better to help them overcome and achieve vs. become a bunch of entitled 20-somethings with no concept of reality! I have to do a bunch of stuff every day that’s not fair and I don’t like. No one’s fighting for me… oh wait… that’s because I’m a sovereign human being and I’m proud of that! LOL I want my kids to have the same solid foundation when they’re on their own as adults. Otherwise, I’ve failed in my parenting.

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