Opting Out - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Opting Out

A Texoma parent has chosen to opt out of having her child take the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness Exam.

The STAAR is designed to test kids on core subjects.  Some Texoma parents can agree that some sort of testing is necessary, but they are questioning the STAAR test's fairness.

 "The anxiety level alone, it just got to be too much for us. I can't do that to my kid," said Texoma parent, Christy Wade.

The anxiety, stress and fairness is what urged Wade to opt her fourth grader out of taking the STAAR test, meaning her son was not in school when he was supposed to take the Grade 4 STAAR test.

 "I actually wrote a letter.  I sent it to the school about a week before the test and told them, we're just not going to do this, this year," said Wade.

The principals at Wade's child's school supported her decision to opt out.  However, after writing the letter, she received a letter back stating how her sons STAAR test would be scored because he did not take it.

"They were going to score his test as a zero and now I'm fighting them over that zero because it's not fair.  It's not even testing my child's knowledge.  It's testing how the school and the teachers are teaching the kids.  Why doesn't the state have enough confidence in its teachers to say hey you're a good teacher," said Wade.

Wade is one of the many parents in Texas who have chosen to opt out.  The Facebook page "Texas Parents Opt Out of State Tests" is dedicated to parents like Wade.

"I think whenever we bring on anxieties with students that don't test well as well as students that test mediocre and we put those anxieties in them, they're obviously not going to well in the testing.  So, I think it's a little unfair, said Texoma parent, Ron Preston.

Preston is looking into the opt out option.  Preston and Wade agree that the grades students make in their regular classes should be sufficient enough for them to advance to the next grade.

Wade's son will be in the 5th grade next school year, which means, he is supposed to take the STAAR to determine if he will advance to the sixth grade, and she plans to opt him out again.

"Standardized testing isn't for everybody.  The kids should go back to the basics," said Wade.

STAAR tests will continue for various grades throughout the month of April.

Section 26.010 of the Education Code says:

(a)  A parent is entitled to remove the parent's child temporarily from a class or other school activity that conflicts with the parent's religious or moral beliefs if the parent presents or delivers to the teacher of the parent's child a written statement authorizing the removal of the child from the class or other school activity.  A parent is not entitled to remove the parent's child from a class or other school activity to avoid a test or to prevent the child from taking a subject for an entire semester.

(b)  This section does not exempt a child from satisfying grade level or graduation requirements in a manner acceptable to the school district and the agency.

(Enacted by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260 (S.B. 1), § 1, effective May 30, 1995.)

Taylor Barnes, Newschannel 6
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