Opt Out of STAAR/EOC Now

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Do you remember when children had fun at school?

Schools in Texas are all about passing the STAAR. Even children in kindergarten are prepared and tested to make sure they are being ready for the STAAR.

Texas teachers are monitored to make sure they only teach the TEKS for their grade and subject. This is because the focus of Texas education is the STAAR. The basic rule is, “Only teach what might be on the STAAR test.” Yes, Texas education has evolved from a wide angle view to narrowing down to what would be described as tunnel vision.

Teaching to a test defeats the purpose of the assessment. The problem is that the STAAR test scores are used to determine whether students are promoted or retained. Soon  teacher evaluations will be based on student STAAR scores even though teachers have little choice in what they teach, how they teach and when they teach it.

If the state wants to make effective changes, stop the Robin Hood program and allow people to select where their school taxes will be used. Given a choice, I would give my school taxes to schools providing the best educational opportunities for children. School districts that have no academic performance receive the greatest amount of funding. If these school districts improve too much they lose this funding.

More money is not the answer to improving Texas education. While academic teachers will never have facilities and equipment comparable to those provided for high school football coaches, the billions of dollars that have been wasted on the state STAAR/EOC tests would actually provide the technology so touted as being necessary for our 21st Century Education Programs. Technology in most school districts is a farce. Many campuses have a few computers in one room, call it a computer lab and the school district labels itself as having  21st Century Technology Education.

In Texas student achievement in class is of no value if they fail the STAAR math and/or Reading tests.  Honor Roll Students have failed the STAAR and been threatened with being retained.

Homeschooled children do not have to take the STAAR tests. If children in public school are passing, parents can take them out of school before the STAAR tests are given and homeschool them. Since for all practical purposes once the STAAR testing starts, the focus of administrators is on the testing and retesting of students. Parents could homeschool their children and better prepare them for the next school year. Then in the fall the children could be enroll in the next grade.  But, if the same children take and fail the STAAR, they will be retested twice and then retained if they do not pass. The scores on the STAAR tests TRUMP all class grades.

Starting in 2013-2014, the promotion of students in grades 3 through 8 depended on their passing the STAAR math and reading tests. Only grades 5 and 8 were given three changes to pass these tests. Grades, 3, 4, 6, and 7 had one retesting. It doesn’t matter how well students perform in their classes during the school year, fail the STAAR and you can be retained.

Some school districts have sent home notes with children explaining to parents that failure of the STAAR math and/or reading test could result in the child being retained in the same grade. This note requires both the parent’s and child’s signature. No child should be put under such pressure over one test. No test should have this value.

In preparation for STAAR, classroom walls are covered with sheets or blank paper. Makes me think of a padded cell with no visual stimulation. The school goes into lock down. No visitors allowed.  Teachers must sign papers stating they will not view the tests nor assist students. But this is not good enough, the state sends in STAAR Police who monitor the the testing.  The STAAR Police are watching administrators and teachers to make sure they do not glance at the test questions are give any signals to the students. One would think that the STAAR tests contain top secret government information.

The tests for elementary children are four hours longs. The children are so frightened about failing that some vomit. Young children are not able to concentrate for 4 hours. After a while, fear of failure is replaced with  exhaustion. Few young children or even adults can do their best on such a long test.

Parents,

In the not so distant past, teaching to a test was not acceptable. Now all Texas schools do nothing else. The Texas Education Service Centers are now training “instruction coaches” to monitor teachers. Coaches control what, when, and how teachers present instruction materials. No frills! No enrichment! Just basic information from the TEKS. Know that the coaches are not trained in subject content, instead they are trained in a specific teaching method and all teachers are to click their heels and goosestep in time to the coaches tune. This teaching structure is so unnatural and so robotic that teachers are required to give praise to students. Some schools mandate that teachers shake the hands of every student as they enter the class. People who know little to nothing about education have written these teaching methods that would be a fitting  computer program for androids.

Learning coaches monitor teachers to make sure they are all on the same page on the same day. This prevents teachers from diversifying instructions to meet student needs. It is all about focusing on  passing the STAAR.

Personally, I would like every parent to opt their children out of the STAAR/EOC tests. My reason is that no test can assess student ability. Tests are suppose to be helpful, but the STAAR/EOC tests cause more harm than good. The scores on these tests are only used for data collection. The scores on the STAAR/EOC are not being used to improve the education of our children.

The quality of the STAAR/EOC tests makes them an invalid assessment indicator.

More and more parents are opting their children out of STAAR/EOC tests.

Are there consequences for opting out of the STAAR? Each school district makes their own rules about this. Find out what these rules are and decide for yourself which is the greater harm for your child.

After considering the consequences, if you plan to opt your children out of STAAR/EOC tests do it now.

Opt out forms can be found on TXedrights.net

You can expect the school to deny your petition and TxEDRights has a denial reply form.  This site has information that will help you if you choose to opt your children out of the STAAR/EOC. Contact information is available.

 

 

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  1. This was on the Texas opt out STAAR Facebook page and the article can be found on txedrights.net.

    The point is your child has to go through 4 years of high school and complete the coarse work and the STAAR EOC to receive an diploma. Now if your child completes all the coarse work and didn’t pass all the required STAAR EOC and just receives a completion certificate. As a parent you can do the following.. Just save $2.50 a week and it should amount around $500. Your asking what in the world do I need $500 for? Well just read the article. Then after your done reading the article go to the website http://www.cveprogram.com/home.aspx

    All I have to say is I am shocked, and disgusted that our children have to pay and go through another program to receive a high school diploma. Parent are paying twice for education. Where are out tax dollars going in this state for education. I know it isn’t going to special education. Please read and post on your website. This company also helps parents with opting out of the STAAR.

    What About High School?
    Posted: November 6, 2014
    / By: admin
    / In: STAAR | EOC Testing

    The Opt Out movement has grown steadily with parents in Grades 3 through 8 learning to navigate the intricacies of opting out, declining accelerated instruction and handling grade placement committee meetings for Grades 5 and 8. However, when the kids hit high school, the stakes rise. Now, the TEA wields its biggest hammer: the EOC graduation requirement. A standard line amongst opt out activists is that you simply can’t do it in high school. However, for a committed opt out parent, I take the following position. If you can put aside sentimentality and about $2.50 a week, you, and not the school, hold all the power.

    Let’s begin with the best news about high school opt out. EOC passage plays no role in grade advancement. Advancement by grade is wholly dependent on passing the classes — just the way it should be. Since the repeal of the 15% law, EOC exams form no part of a student’s class grade. Again, as it should be. EOC results have no bearing on UIL eligibility. That it strictly based on classroom grades, as it should be. In other words, the threats that deter parents often at the elementary and middle school level, that their child will be retained, do not exist in high school. If your child passes the class and obtains the academic credit, they move on with their grade.

    Instead the threat is overt and codified in statute. Unless your child passes five EOC examinations, they cannot receive a Texas public high school diploma. Or can they? In reality, there are approved substitute assessments that neither the TEA nor the school districts publicize. These substitute assessments, which can be found on the TEA website usually take the form of college readiness assessments, such as AP, IB SAT and ACT assessments. While they are still standardized testing, these assessments have a much longer history and are much better written than the STAAR examinations. A student who is “close” on STAAR may find these assessment levels more readily attainable. Parents should inquire with their school districts about the methods for using substitute assessments if they want to go that route.

    Now why did I say put aside sentimentality? Because in my experience, the biggest impediment to a parent proactively fighting STAAR at the high school level is the parental dream of seeing their child walk across the stage and receive their high school diploma. It is a scene played out in the parent’s head that in most instances holds far more meaning for the parent than the student. For students, events like prom, class trips and mementos such as class rings mean far more than sitting in the Texas sun to receive a piece of paper. To live out this dream, parents readily subject their children, despite learning disabilities, test anxiety, English language acquisition or a myriad of other causes that render STAAR an unreliable assessment, to the annual dreaded cycle of testing, retesting and summer school. A student challenged in language arts, may take 20 ELA assessments in their high school career in hopes of getting a passing grade. A math challenged student may take 11 assessments hoping to get that passing mark. Hours upon hours will be spent in STAAR tutorials and summer school. Jobs, family vacations and curriculum enriching courses will go by the wayside all for the parent’s dream of seeing the child walk the stage.

    In my mind, this is foolishness. The psychic benefit of that “moment” is grossly outweighed by the psychological trauma to the child. My son talks about his STAAR tutorial classes as the classes for the “stupid kids.” That is how he sees himself. That is how his peers categorize the students pulled out for STAAR remediation. Every ounce of educational privacy rights is obliterated by pull out instruction and remediation that is visible to the peers of these students. If I had only known . . .

    Remember the $2.50 a week I told you to put away? For about $500, a parent can transfer all the class credits their child earns during their high school career to a private school, and after a short online “tutorial”, receive a fully accredited diploma. Your child becomes a high school graduate. There is no stage and no cap and gown, but that credential that opens the door to high school, military service our other pre-requisites is obtained without taking a single standardized test. The parent wins. The child wins. You use your taxpayer provided public schools for every single classroom credit your child needs. Then you say “thank you very much” send a check for $500 and get the accredited diploma from a private school. One such program is the CVEP program through The Oaks Private School. Broady Academy in San Antonio offers a similar program. Both schools are fully accredited. Both diplomas are accepted for post-secondary education. You receive full transcripts. You win.

    Personally, I have spent well over $500 on tutoring, test prep materials, and other services designed to help my now senior level son pass STAAR. We’ve studied, crammed, argued, fought and cried over this ridiculous STAAR assessment. When I discovered CVEP, that all stopped. We made a deal to focus on the areas we agree he needs to improve, continue his strong classroom achievement, and when the school year ends, we’ll do the CVEP program and receive his diploma. It’s the credential, not the ceremony that matters. The stress level has dropped dramatically. Had I known of this program when my son entered 9th grade, he would never have taken a single EOC.

    High school parents, with a little planning and an objective outlook, you really do hold all the power. The only threat the school has is to withhold the diploma, but you can tell them “so what.” You don’t have to homeschool. You don’t have to pay four years or even one semester of private school tuition. You can use and exploit the public education you pay for with your taxes. Your child can play sports with their peers, join the band, compete in One Act Play, and every other activity available to their neighborhood friends. And they can do it without taking a single EOC. All you have to do is let go of sentimentality, make it about your child, and tell the school “No thanks, we don’t need your diploma.”

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