Central Texas parents are joining a statewide movement to opt their kids out of standardized testing. The STAAR test is being administered this week.
Mom Jill Respass posted a photo of her kids Tuesday on Facebook. 13-year-old Haley and 11-year-old Luke are smiling she says because they won't be taking the STAAR test at their Eanes ISD schools like other Texas students this week.
She opted them out despite the fact that not taking the test may jeopardize their progression to the next grade.
"I morally disagree that they're high stake testing our children with one score that can create an academic failure," Respass said.
Stacy Miller also chose for her son Drew to opt out. Last year, she says he didn't do so well.
"Around February Drew was very stressed, very fearful that his whole academic movement was riding on this one test," said Miller. "When I told him he wasn't going to have to take the test his personality changed back into the kids that I knew."
Though Eanes ISD will accommodate the children with a separate space to learn while the test is being administered, school officials have made it clear in a memo that they cannot exempt the children from the test. According to the Texas Education Agency, if 5th or 8th graders fail or fail to take the test, they will be retained.
Respass's son Luke and Miller's son Drew will likely have to go before a grade placement committee with the hopes the committee will vote to allow the children to promote.
"It's a risk, but I deem that the test is very harmful and detrimental especially if they fail. That immediately changes their academic trajectory. They're failed. They're labeled," said Respass.
Other parents posted photos of their children who stayed home from school today in other parts of the state on the Facebook page Texas Parents Opt Out of State Tests.
Drew Scheberle, vice president of education for the Austin Chamber of Commerce says standardized testing is important.
"It's certainly a quality measure we can look to say how much did you learn in a given measure. Employers use it all the time, sports teams use it all the time, you want to have some fair way to look at performance across different kinds of high school colleges, some common denominator that people can use to inform decisions," said Scheberle.
The moms say they support testing, just not one all-or-nothing test.
"One single grade would mean that they fail that grade and be retained. That's not fair," said Respass. "The teachers know best."