Education News

More Houston Parents Opting Children Out Of Standardized Tests

In public schools around the country, there’s a growing backlash against high-stakes testing. Parents in Greater Houston are also joining that movement.

Donna Reid said her daughters Amanda and Elena are going to opt out of the state’s math exam this year. Instead of taking the test, they will join their mom at work at the University of Houston and attend a college course there. Photo is courtesy of Donna Reid.


This week, seventh graders at Johnston Middle School in Meyerland will take the state’s standardized exam in math.

But at least two students won’t be in class.

Donna Reid said her twin daughters Amanda and Elena are boycotting the test. They’re opting out.

“I want people in power to pay attention to the way standardized tests are changing our schools for the worse. I want to make clear I’m not against testing. I’m against high-stakes testing,” said Reid, who is also an educator.

Reid said high-stakes testing has changed what students learn in school.

The state exams, or the STAAR tests, can determine if a student is promoted to the next grade. They also can influence a teacher’s evaluation and a school’s rating.

This year, however, the state isn’t counting the math test in its accountability measures for grades three through eight.

Reid said that change means there’s less risk for students who opt out of the math test.

“Perhaps it’s not totally without risk, but I also think we have to model for our kids that if something is important, you take a risk for it,” she said.

One group, Community Voices for Public Education, is encouraging parents and students to opt out.

Technically, the Texas Education Agency doesn’t have a policy on opting out.

But students who miss school will be counted as absent.

And if an exam is required to move on to the next grade, a student may have to re-take the test or enroll in summer school.


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Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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