Why Go to School?

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If students on the honor roll have to attend summer school, why go to school all year?

Texas seems not to need public schools except for athletic programs. Students can attend every day, make all A’s, but if they fail the STAAR test in reading, writing, or math, they are permanently labeled  a failure. Yes, failing the STAAR trumps any and all class grades.

All elementary kids who fail the STAAR are herded into special classes for more “special” instructions. If kids can be taught how to read, write and do math in a few days, why don’t teachers give these “special” instructions at the beginning of school? The STAAR tests could be given and voila’ school would be out. But for kids that need just a bit more, teachers would pull out the file containing “Very Special Instructions.” This is what is used during summer school so kids needing to take the STAAR test for the third time will be passed to the next grade.

Think about this:

A fourth grade student is an exemplary student. This girl is very self-disciplined and her lowest grade is a B. For her accomplishments she was given a metal. Was she wearing her metal when she was given her STAAR report indicating that she had failed the STAAR math test? With trembling hands the child handed the paper to her mom. The only part of the report that was understandable was the word–“Unsatisfactory.”

Yes, this honored student must go to summer school. This is not a state requirement. Instead, the school district, Chilton ISD, has made a rule that all students failing the STAAR/EOC will be going to summer school. The math teacher as well as the elementary principal are confident that 4th grade students passing math are prepared for 5th grade math concepts. Never the less, if any 4th grade student fails STAAR math, even honor roll kids, must go to summer school. I guess the “Very Special Instructions” are used and the kids take the STAAR test again. If these students fail the second 4th grade Math STAAR test, the school district rules are that the child could be retained in 4th grade. But, the school can all students failing the summer STAAR to pass, but the record will show that it was a probationary pass.

Note: TEA does not require 4th grade students to retake the STAAR tests. Thus there is no prepared STAAR retake test for the Chilton 4th grade students to take. The principal says that the test given to 4th graders last year will be used. I reminded her that this test is posted on the TEA website along with the answers. So, how valid will the 4th grade STAAR test score be for the Chilton students? Why is this school district sending 4th graders to summer school? Who is paying for this?

There are so many unanswered questions, for example:

1. If a student is failing 5th grade math and passes the STAAR, does this student pass 5th grade math?

a. If the answer to #1 is no, then what is the point of a failing student taking the STAAR test?

b. If the answer to #1 is yes, then what is the point of children attending school if the STAAR score is all that is needed to pass?

2. Do school district have the authority to fail 4th grade students using only the score of a STAAR test?

3. What recourse do parents have when their children pass all class assignment and must go to summer school if they fail the STAAR?  Since the content of the STAAR tests have been shown to have errors, do parents have to take legal action to stop this type of punishment? Yes, sending students to summer school only on STAAR scores is an unfair punishment.

Parents Need Help

 

what is the point of going to school them spending an entire school year given the condensed You will be given another chance to pass the test before the school year is out.

 

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