Houston ISD acknowledges 26.010 Opt Out Rights

Fox 26 reporter Andrea Watkins has made real headway in getting school districts on the record about a parent’s right to Opt Out.  In her initial report, Katy ISD Director of Assessment, Alison Matney (who has made inaccurate posts on this website) acknowledged that while there is no process to opt out, parents can just keep their kids home.  Today, however, Watkins’ latest report contained a real bombshell.  In response to questions about the Houston AFT’s endorsement of the Opt Out movement, the Houston ISD issued a statement acknowledging that while state assessments are mandatory, parents can remove their children from objectionable instruction under Tex. Ed. Code sec. 26.010.

26010 admission

Earlier this year, we reported on the admission of the state’s top school law firm that parents could “technically” opt out.  Houston ISD’s acknowledgement of parental rights to refuse assessment under sec. 26.010 marks, to our knowledge, the first explicit recognition of what TPERN has long urged is the plain meaning of the statute.  TPERN salutes Andrea Watkins for her hard hitting investigation and Houston ISD for their recognition of parental rights in the face of strong pressure from the Texas Education Agency to intimidate and coerce parents into assessment.

Update:  This is the official Houston ISD Opt Out form.  It is legal, people!  Demand your local schools respect your rights!12798821_10153991431898684_3910673097468946811_n

7 Comments

  1. Rob D'Amico

    It Wasn’t actually the meaning of the statute at all. But it really doesn’t matter. Because the law says that you can’t “avoid” tests. There’s nothing about refusing them. And without any penalties aside from academic consequences, which are questionable at best, then it’s obviously you’re right to do so

    1. admin

      I am not sure I understand what you are trying to say here.

      The “to avoid a test” language goes to purpose, not effect.

      Apart from which, a parent never needs statutory permission to make educational decisions for their children.

  2. Melinda

    The STAAR is not a tests but an assessment. It says that right in the title State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness. They should of named it the State of Texas Tests of Academic Readiness…STTAR instead. Someone needs to take this garbage to court so our state congress can recognize this fact like many other states currently Opt Out of standardize tests.

    1. admin

      Melinda – where do you think the assessment not a test argument came from? This website was the first to make it and publicize it.

      As for a lawsuit, find a parent willing to pay for it and we’ll all be happy. For now everyone wants free advice.

  3. Birgit Fisher

    Section 26.010 also contains the sentence that ” a parent is not entitled to remove the parent’s child from a class or other school activity to avoid a test or to prevent the child from taking a subject for an entire semester.” How does that support parental right to refuse state mandated standardized testing?

    1. admin

      1. Chapter 26 distinguishes between tests and assessments. The STAAR is an assessment, not a test.
      2. The state mandates schools administer assessments. There is no mechanism to compel assessment of students.
      3. The “to avoid a test” language speaks to intent, not effect. Otherwise, parents could opt kids out of sex ed for moral reasons but still have to subject them to graphic anatomical charts on tests. That’s not how 26.010 works, and all the schools know this.
      4. Why don’t you ask Houston ISD? They have opt out procedures and cited 26.010 in response to the question posed by the reporter.
      5. Read this article and this article to see responses to shoddy legal analysis like the 26.010 line schools give.

      1. admin

        And incidentally, a parent never needs the permission of the school to make an educational decision for their child.

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