HOUSTON, TX – Are your kids stressing out these days? Well, there’s a reason for it: it’s STAAR week! Or should we call it STAAR wars?
On Tuesday and Wednesday, thousands of kids across the Lone Star State spent hours taking the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness. But a growing number of parents have decided to opt their kids out of these high-stakes tests.
“I just feel like all this time that they spend on tests, they could be doing just so much more valuable stuff that they need in life,” said Christine Diaz.
Sarah Rivlin coordinates the Opt Out Academy, in the Heights. She’s a former HISD teacher who believes standardized testing goes against what our children’s education should look like.
“We are very concerned with the effect that these tests are having on the school curriculum, on the way that it is contributing to inequity,” Rivlin explained.
The kids we interviewed are really convinced that they’re doing the right thing.
“I don’t think it’s necessary to do the STAAR,” said ten-year old Louisa Mata , “cause it puts a lot of stress on the kids and on the teachers.”
“It’s just a giant waste of time,” added fifth-grader Damien Dumo.
“You are not a test score,” vehemently expressed nine-year old Paloma Geisler , “they cannot say that to you.”
In the meantime, education authorities in Texas say the tests are mandatory. However, the law states that parents can remove their children from the class if the activity conflicts with their religious or moral beliefs.
“Last year we had 80 kids successfully opting out in the greater Houston area, with very little repercussions,” Rivlin concluded.
One thing is for sure… the test is once again being tested.