As a classroom teacher, I administered the STAAR test to my 8th-grade classes, hundreds of students. Often, I had to tell them they failed when I knew they read on grade level and higher. I taught summer school to several students each year so they could enter high school and many times tutored for free because principals suspected teachers were failing kids purposely for extra tutoring money to supplement our low salaries.
All content areas: Math, History, Reading, and Science, are all reading tests. My colleagues and I knew students were brighter than what the STAAR tests were reporting. If you have taught in Texas classrooms since 2011, you have probably experienced this as well.
We (teachers) were dismissed, as was the Texas Association of Meaningful Student Assessments (TAMSA) and multiple university studies.
I believe that more than 30% of Texas school kids are misidentified as reading/performing below grade level ~ more than 1.25 million children... more than 1 in 5 students are told they have failed. We lied to them.
Let's try to wrap our minds around the impact:
In addition to the Texas Monthly article, the Texas Tribune and The New York Times will soon be releasing their investigative pieces. Several elected officials across Texas will soon be issuing statements requesting that this Spring's administration of the STAAR/EOC exams be postponed and demanding third-party evaluations, the halting of school closures and charterization of public schools resulting from draconian laws such as 1842 and 1882, the denial of high school diplomas for the past eight years, and much more.
If anyone is still questioning why teachers are against incentive-based funding, this is just one of many reasons.
Texas taxpayers deserve the truth. Our students deserve far better than this!
Georgina C. Pérez