AUSTIN (KXAN) — As parents continue getting their children’s STAAR test results this summer — some were up at the Texas State Capitol fighting to end the state exams on Saturday.
Diane Lewis organized the ‘No More STAAR Rally‘ aimed to slash STAAR testing and draw attention to the impact it has on their children.
“They need to learn the true basics of education,” said Lewis. “They need to enjoy school. They hate school now. Their anxiety and stress levels are off the charts.”
Many parents, like Lewis, say education should not be a one-size-fits-all model.
A Texas Education Agency (TEA) spokesperson, Gene Acuña says the goal of the test is to determine if students are learning the curriculum required at each grade level, and if they’re not, they should get the support they need to be successful in life after high school.
Lewis created a petition asking TEA to end STAAR testing, and is also one of the parents who filed a lawsuit against the state agency. The suit claimed the Texas Education Agency did not follow the new law passed by the 2015 legislature that would shorten the test.
“The test has certain time limits that should allow for every student to complete the test and it’s really dependent of the student who is taking the test. Some may finish quickly, some may take a little longer, but that’s what the time limit is set for,” said Acuña.
However, some parents and retired teachers, like Tom Lane, say the test “drives” the curriculum to focus on “getting good scores.”
“This is a system that does not work and it’s broken,” said Lane. “We are evaluating an entire year’s worth of learning into a single snapshot.”
Lewis agrees and says, “Our children have lost the true foundation of their education.”
But, Acuña says this is to benefit everyone.
“Parents should know the reason behind the STAAR test is really to help out the child,” he said. “At every grade level, [we ask] ‘Did they get the concept they should have gotten at the end of 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade?’ And, if they did, that’s great, and if they didn’t, then the school should be providing some extra support so they’re successful.”
Parents KXAN spoke with say they’ll continue to fight and Lewis will continue to opt out her daughter from testing. This year, she will be in the 8th grade.