SUCCESS! Middle school and high school opt outs facilitated!

From S.B.

Plano ISD
This year, I submitted my refusal letter to my 8th grader’s principal and counselor.. Initially, I received “Received” as a reply from the principal. After a couple of weeks, I emailed again asking his preference on what to do with my child on administration days. He told me to fill out the absence form for the initial administration days and that he would approve it, that way my kid could do any makeup work with no hassles. And, that was it!
For my 10th grader, I emailed the same refusal letter and the counselor called me. She went over what his options were and wanted to make sure I understood the acceptable substitutions. Months later during a 504 meeting, it was outlined that he will not be taking EOCs and will be utilizing subs, instead.

Success: High School Graduation via Sub Assessments!

Our younger daughter graduated from high school last May. She hadn’t taken a STAAR Assessment since 5th grade. We used substitute assessments, IGC for US History, and she received the Covid waivers. Her US History IGC project was a report about the Civil Rights era. She spun it to include our decision to practice civil disobedience by refusing STAAR to reflect our beliefs that STAAR is a prejudiced system that specifically targets students of color, students of a lower socioeconomic status, students with learning disabilities, etc. She is the first student to opt out in our district (Pleasanton ISD) and received her diploma with all her earned honors. She is currently a freshman at Texas A&M University. TAMU never once asked about her missing STAAR scores. Colleges don’t care! We were blessed with a very supportive district and campus administration (or else they just didn’t want to deal with us anymore), but we also went into every single meeting prepared with all the information gleaned from this page. Many times we were educating our schools about opt out rights, but the facts from clearly spell it out.
STAAR is not required.

Opting out/refusing STAAR and HB 4545 is legal.

-Tammy H.
Pleasanton ISD
Pleasanton, TX

Success: IGC Graduation – No Retests

From CF

In 2022, when my daughter was a senior at United Independent School District in Laredo, Texas, I received an incredible amount of pushback for the  ENTIRE YEAR as I opted my senior out of testing and requested an IGC, but I didn’t give in! I kept pushing and my daughter’s graduation kept being threatened. Literally, my daughter was told by her administrator at USHS,  to her face without my presence on more than one occasion, “I hope you know your mom is risking your graduation.” She too didn’t give in, and I’m so incredibly proud of her.  She even told them, “It’s ok. I have an uncle in Austin who is willing to pay for my CVEP and I’m sure that wouldn’t look good for you.” Still, they pushed back.

With tremendous help from an educational advocate we put together NUMEROUS emails sent to my daughter’s administrator who then involved district personnel such as the executive director of high school education. I then involved the counselor and had her verify in writing that my daughter has met all graduation requirements. Eventually we involved and carbon copied TEA into our emails.

For those who are still learning, TEA states students are to be given the opportunity to an IGC, individual graduation committee BEGINNING at the END of their JUNIOR year. This district CHOSE NOT TO time after time stating the child MUST retest at EVERY opportunity, but being I’ve helped other families I knew they were all lies. I seriously didn’t expect this much trouble though. They pushed the IGC until March, then May!!!! WHAT WERE THEY THINKING!

So after compiling another email to TEA asking for direct clarification on the IGC my daughter was FINALLY granted her right to one!!!! She completed the project in no time and proudly walked the stage.

Parents keep pushing! YOU CAN AND YOU WILL WIN!

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