In HISD, opt out goals are
- to end the use of test scores to evaluate teachers and principals in HISD
- to reduce the amount of STAAR test prep. Meaningful instruction best occurs when classroom assessments are written by the child's teacher.
- to permanently end the use of STAAR as a promotion standard in grades 3,4, 6, 7 [requirement waived this year]
At the state level, opt out goals are
- to oppose the A-F School Accountability System to be implemented in 2017-18
- to demand that Texas only administer standardized tests in grades (3,5,8,10) and subjects (reading and math) required by federal law
- to oppose the use of test scores as a promotion standard in any grade
Grades are a better measure of student progress and teacher observation is a better measure of teacher quality.
- Contact us to learn more
- ONE PAGE SUMMARY HERE
- Find out the answers to your opt out questions at OPT OUT FAQs here
What’s at stake for my child?
For grades 3, 4, 6 & 7 (all tests) and grades 5 & 8 (Science and Social Studies), STAAR will:
NOT have required summer school for missing/failing.
NOT have re-tests, except for make-up tests, which are only scheduled during the week of testing.
NOT be used for Vanguard apps. Magnet applications without a STAAR exam will be evaluated based on a district rubric with grades and other measures only.
For grades 5 & 8, the STAAR is a promotion standard for reading and math. If a child misses or fails the STAAR, there are re-testing dates (see below), along with a grade placement committee (GPC) at the end of the year. The GPC is a meeting which includes the child’s teacher, principal, and the child’s parent/guardian. Summer school cannot be required, and the GPC must make promotion decisions based on child’s entire academic record, not just on the STAAR score or lack of a STAAR score. This year GPC only applies to Gr 5 & 8 Math and Reading.
How do I opt out my child?
Let us know and we will support you throughout the process. We are keeping a private count of parents at bit.ly/optout2017signup. We also have resources if you’d like more information or to talk with a parent who has opted their child out of testing. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info
Tell your school or just keep your child home during STAAR and subsequent make-up days (it is not a requirement to inform your school). Consider scheduling doctor's appointments on testing dates.
If you do not want the score to count as a zero and count against the school's accountability, your child must stay home the week of testing. Schools are obligated to administer the test to your child if s/he returns to school any day that week but your children can simply sign their name and refuse the test, receive a zero and then return to class. On make up days, a child can return to school if there are less than 4.5 hours remaining in the school day without their score being recorded as a zero.
Round 1 (Last WEEK OF MARCH)
March 28 (TUE): Gr 5 & 8 (Math). Gr 4 & 7 (Writing)
March 29 (WED): Gr 5 & 8 (Reading). Make-up day for missed tests
March 30 & 31 (THUR & FRI): Make-up days for missed tests
Round 2 (Second WEEK IN MAY)
May 8 (MON): Gr 3,4, 6 & 7 (Math), retest Gr 5 & 8 (Math)
May 9 (TUE): Gr 3, 4, 6 & 7 (Reading), retest Gr 5 & 8 (Reading)
May 10 (WED): Gr 5 & 8 (Science), make-up day for missed tests this week
May 11 (THUR): Gr 8 (Social Studies), make-up day for missed tests this week
May 12 (FRI): Last day to make up missed tests given this week
What should I do with my children on testing days?
Children may attend the Opt Out Academy each day of testing from 8am-3pm. Free, purposeful learning.
Update: Unfortunately, the 2017 Opt Out Academy and waiting list are full.
We apologize for the inconvenience.
Here is our Opt Out Academy How To Guide if you would like to start your own opt out academy.
Opt Out Academy, 2016, art
Opt Out Academy, 2016, writing
Opt Out Academy, 2016, geology
Opt Out Academy, 2016, P.E.
Opt Out Academy 2015 - Science
Opt Out Academy 2015 - Math
High School STAAR: Opt Out NOT recommended unless you have taken and failed a section of the STAAR test at least twice. However, we do have some high school students opting out.
- It is a graduation requirement to pass five End of Course STAAR tests.
- As of last year there is an exception. Texas SB 149 was signed into law in May of 2015. It states that high school students may still be able to get their diplomas even if they have failed no more than two of the required five STAAR tests as long as they have taken and failed each of the two STAAR exams at least twice. To graduate, they must meet with a graduation committee and show evidence that they have demonstrated learning in the failed tested subject.
- If you would like to opt out as a high school student and do not qualify under SB 149, you can make a statement by refusing the test this year. If the law does not change, you will need to pass each of the five STAAR tests required for graduation. In Colorado and other states, tens of thousands of high school students refused the test last year. Stand up for the well-rounded rich curriculum we all deserve.
- Texas Ed Rights has some interesting advice about high school Opt Out.
More Useful information about opting out
- http://txedrights.net (A must read website full of practical and legal advice written by Texas attorneys experienced in Opt Out. Here is their Step-by-Step Opt Out Guide
Opt Out is Spreading
- At least 620,000 students in 7 states sat out standardized tests in 2015.
- In New York, 20% of students (200,000) opted out in 2015, up from 60,000 in 2014.
- In 2016, about 500 students opted out of STAAR in the greater Houston area, up from 1 student in 2014.
- In 2015 and in 2016, CVPE held an Opt Out Academy so that students could learn on opt out days.
- Almost 50% of Washington State juniors and 48,000 students refused to test in 2015.
Send a message to lawmakers and school districts that children are not mere numbers. Children deserve a rich curriculum, not a test-prep curriculum. Using test scores as an excuse to close schools punishes the children who are most in need of strong neighborhood schools.
Opt Out. Parents have the power to end this testing culture. The great democratic institution called public education is worth it.
After opting your child out:
Grade Placement Committee (GPC)
IMPORTANT: If you opted a 5th or 8th grader out of STAAR reading and/or math, or your child failed the 2nd administration, legally, you must have a grade placement committee (GPC) meeting with your school. Even if you don't have a formal meeting and your principal says s/he will promote your child without summer school, you need to get it signed and in writing.
For 5th and 8th grade parents who did not opt out, but whose child failed the first administration of STAAR, your principal may not schedule a GPC BEFORE the school receives the results of the second administration. Otherwise, the GPC will not have complete information to make a promotion decision. It is still your right to opt out of the 3rd administration of STAAR this summer. (See the TEA SSI manual linked below.)
Where to find the Texas Education Agency's SSI manual, which will show you your legal rights.
Here is the TEA SSI flow chart for the GPC process.
Questions and concerns: Contact us.