Houston students 'opting out' skip STAAR test, but not school

- The gathering at Kindred Church in Montrose is called "Opt Out Academy" -- a place where kids whose parents believe high-stakes testing is bad, can bring their children this week to absorb some alternative good.

It's hard to beat guidance against intolerance led by educators from the Holocaust Museum.

"Tell us why it’s important to be an upstander and what can you do to make the world a better place?" asked Laurie Garcia of HMH.

It seems the message of standing against hate hit its mark with students opting out.

"To help people find their voice," said Fatimah Traor.

"A lot of people were getting killed because a group of people wanted power. Standing up can change lots of things," said Jack Fitzgerald.

While classmates back at their public school tackled the STAAR, kids at Opt Out took on much different tasks like mixing up the makings for fresh bread.

"Gently put your hands in there and mix all those ingredients, gently, gently, kind of slow okay," urged  Kindred Pastor Ashley Dellagiacoma, a volunteer instructor.

The make-shift curriculum at Opt Out is infused with creativity -- artistic activities many parents believe their kids get short-changed on campuses focused too fiercely on test scores.

"I researched, researched, researched and the more I learned the more confidant I became in the decision to opt out," said Jenny Espeseth, mother of a daughter skipping STAAR.

"We want them to feel proud that their students were able to stand-up against the standardized testing in Texas," said Michelle Tovar, leader of the Opt Out Academy effort.

Still a tiny minority in the Lone Star State, these anti-STAAR rebels seem secure in their cause, contending the pursuit knowledge is plenty and kids need not provide multiple choice proof.

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