Opt Out

Boycott STAAR

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STAAR and COVID do not mix. Support an indefinite suspension of STAAR.

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. This is even more true in the middle of this global pandemic. Opt out to-

  • Support meaningful curriculum, including the arts, ethnic studies, and civics
  • Support low-stakes diagnostic testing but NOT high-stakes standardized testing
  • Support valid reliable systems to evaluate teachers (not STAAR)
  • Support allocating resources so our schools have nurses, counselors and librarians again
  • Oppose inequality and racism in our schools
  • Oppose the high cost of standardized testing

STATE GOALS: Abolish the use of standardized test scores as a graduation requirement or for grade promotion. Abolish A-F School Accountability System. Limit standardized testing to no more than required by federal law. 

LOCAL GOALS: End the use of standardized test scores to evaluate teachers and principals in HISD. Reduce test prep to make room for meaningful instruction.

COVID GOALS: Suspend STAAR and associated accountability through 2022

Grades are a better measure of student progress and teacher observation is a better measure of teacher quality.

What’s at stake for my child?

For grades 5 & 8, the STAAR is usually 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. 

For grades 3, 4, 6 & 7 (all tests) and grades 5 & 8 (Science and Social Studies), STAAR will-

  • NOT be used for promotion
  • 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. 

How do I opt out my child?

  • Keep your child home choosing virtual instruction during STAAR and subsequent make-up days. It is not a requirement to inform your school although you may choose to do so.  
  • Schools are obligated to administer the test to your child if your child returns to school any day of the testing window 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.

Email us at houstoncvpe@gmail.com for more info.

Testing Dates Spring 2020-2021 [TEA LINK ]

Retest Dates in December: Dec 8-18 with most schools administering the EOC Dec 8-11.

Spring dates:

  • TUE-April 6, April 13, April 20, April 27, May 4
  • THUR- April 8, April 15, April 22, April 29, May 6
  • FRI- April 9, May 7
  • High school STAAR: May 4-June 4: 
  • Gr 3-8 Science, math, reading: May 6- June 11

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High School Opt out is trickier. Texas is one of only 11 states to still require standardized testing to graduate.

  • COVID Exception: Any student who passed a STAAR subject course in spring 2020 is exempt from having to take the STAAR exam in that subject.
  • It is a graduation requirement to pass five End of Course STAAR tests, but a student can substitute individual graduation committee (IGC) for up to two exams that they failed or refused. Texas SB 149 states that, to graduate, the student must meet with an individual graduation committee (IGC) and demonstrate learning in the failed tested subject, usually by successful completing a project or "packet."
  • Additionally, students may substitute an alternative assessment like the PSAT and SAT for the STAAR and do NOT have to ever take the STAAR in that subject. Here are assessments that can be used. http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter101/19_0101_4002-1.pdf
  • 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.

Opt Out is Spreading

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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.)

USEFUL LINKS:

Questions and concerns: Contact us.


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