HB 1416 Opt Out of AI

Well toss the old HB 4545 letters away!  As we have been discussing, the Texas legislature did a big revamp on HB 4545 accelerated instruction with the HB 1416 amendments.  The most important change was to grant a broader and more explicit opt out right to parents.  After HB 4545, the TEA recognized an opt out right for accelerated instruction.  That right required that a parent have a moral or religious objection to the instruction.

However, because some local districts are sold out to STAAR, there were districts that refused to follow the TEA guidance and attempted to deny parental opt out notices.  In HB 1416, the legislature put an end to that.  They created an opt out right for any parent whose student was scored but did not approach the grade level standards.  That parent can remove their child from AI on written notice.  Period.

In fact it is so simple, we don’t even have a form letter for it.  I recommend two sentences:

Pursuant to 28.0211 (a-9) I elect to remove my child from the accelerated instruction required by 28.0211 (a-1)(2).  Please confirm that he/she has been removed from all accelerated instruction.

That is all the statute requires and a school has no discretion to deny it.  I will note, that due to some confusing wording, the TEA guidance says that if a student was not scored due to absence or testing irregularity, they must first take a BOY screener before opting out under HB 1416.

Also, note that HB 1416 did not alter the prohibition on removing kids from electives to deliver AI.  Schools still are barred from doing that.

A note on strategy:
Sometimes it makes sense to delay giving your opt out notice.  This year we have had a few schools deliver their AI in full class settings.  If a parent opts out, they will say “Oh, no this isn’t an AI class, it’s just for helping students get to grade level on the TEKs.  It has nothing to do with AI or STAAR.  Which of course is a lie.  The same can be true of schools that offer it in “WIN” time or homeroom or whatever special name they have.  If you have heard that your school uses full period AI or resource period AI, I suggest not sending your opt out notice until they try to put the kid in a full period prep class.  THEN, you ask, in writing, “so will his time in this class cover his AI hours?” which they will almost certainly immediately confirm as true.  Once you have that confirmation in writing, THEN you give the opt out notice.  Patience can be your friend here.

Also, note that until your assessment is scored, you are not under any obligation to do AI.  Opting out before scores come back is premature.

August 16, 2023


April 16, 2024

Comments (23)

  • What can we the parents do if my student opted out of the STAAR in the 5th grade and now the 6th the grade counselor is claiming that because she didn’t take the test she is required to participate in the accelerated program

  • Thank you! I just found out my child has been getting pulled during “team time” for AI and of course it wasn’t called AI. I asked if this fulfills his AI hours, teacher confirmed it does, and replied with the 2 sentences above. Here’s hoping that’s the end of it!

  • I just found out that my child has been placed in a AI class that they call (45/45) and because she has an EIP for speech and dyslexia, this call is during her recess time. Isn’t this illegal? Because of blocking, they have also replaced her speech pull out by taking her our of art on those days! AND I was not informed of any of this! I plan on sending the opt out letter but I was wondering if there would be any repercussions for “opting” her out of this AI?

    • The only people that ought to have repercussions are the school employees who are ignoring the law. Yes it is illegal. Parents have got to get over this nonsensical fear of repercussions. You have a statutory right to opt out of AI. It wouldn’t be a right if you suffered repercussions for exercising them.

      • Thank you. The school has replied with they ” have added my request to her file”. I replied with “Thank you again for your time. However, just to make sure there is clear understanding for me, is this confirmation that Aubrey is removed from the AI “45/45” as of today?” They replied with “The documentation has been added to her file that you requested removal.”
        They are clearly ignoring me. I did NOT request. I invoked a parental right and I have no idea how to move forward. Do I inform them my child will staying in her advisory class and attending recess that they are illegally withholding from her? I apologize I feel so ignorant in how to handle this.

        • Yes, I would inform them and I would confirm with your daughter she is no longer missing recess. If they are still pulling her, you need to file a grievance.

  • I have a question or concern, rather, about when to send in the opt out letter for AI. My child is entering 7th grade next year and will be trying out for Show Choir. That class, I’m told, will take place during advisory, which is also the class period for AI. My question is, do we send the opt out letter as soon as we find out if she makes the team or not? I don’t want her to be cut from the team, if she makes it, because she will be placed in AI. I would rather nip their attempt in the bud before they ruin her schedule. What are your thoughts? Should I still play the patience game and wait to see what they do? Thank you for your help in this matter.

    • If Show Choir is a scheduled class, as a part of the fine arts curriculum they can’t remove her from that for AI, so I wouldn’t be too concerned. If you think the school is retaliatory, don’t send your Opt Out letter until afterwards. You don’t have a time limit on it.

  • I have a question about this statement:

    “I will note, that due to some confusing wording, the TEA guidance says that if a student was not scored due to absence or testing irregularity, they must first take a BOY screener before opting out under HB 1416.”

    So, does the student HAVE to take the BOY screener before opting out under HB 1416? Or do they just make it complicated so people make the wrong assumption & the schools roll with it & take advantage of the wording?

    • I think it’s a good faith interpretation by the TEA and by schools following them. The statute is badly worded. This is one reason we recommend students refuse in person and not try to be scored A for absent.

  • I am completely new to this, I just heard about opting out less than an hour ago, so I appreciate your patience in advance. Please correct me if I am understanding this wrong. This AI is something that is in place for students that opt out. Does that mean that we have to opt the student out of STAAR and subsequently AI? Or, does this all fall under one opting out? Thank you again.

    • AI is required for any student who does not achieve a standard of approaches grade level on STAAR. This is true whether they are absent, attempt it, or opt out. The opt out from AI is separate from the Opt Out from STAAR.

  • If I chose to have my student go to the test, turn it in blank, that I will receive less push back? Just trying to figure out the best possible outcomes for my girls. Also do the schools have to inform me on putting my students in AI?

    • There is really no way to say. Schools’ reactions vary widely. To be sure, if your student turns it in and submits it (without asking for permission) blank, they can’t be retested. So you take any possibility of continual pressure attempts off the table.

  • Thank you for this information. I read on the TEA website of FAQ’s that “an LEA may select a beginning of the year assessment designed to show grade level proficiency on the TEKS as the selected beginning of the year assessment.” What is an example of this and is this something I need to prepare for and allow the following year? Thank you!

    • This only applies if you are marked absent or other on STAAR. If you opt out by refusing in person or submitting a blank assessment, you will have a score report generated and are eligible to opt out without the screener.

  • What if the school states that they will provide AI instruction before or after school? Since this does not conflict with any of the students regular courses can we still opt out as provided in HB 1416?

  • Our principal and district attorney have both told me that my child will have to take 60 hours of AI next school year, specifically zoning in on the word “administered”. District attorney says that since my child was not “presented” with the assessment, it was not “administered”, quoting the wording in the law: “To ensure that each student achieves at least satisfactory performance on each assessment instrument administered.” My child wasn’t present during administration day and the school did not put the assessment in front of her during make-up days per my written refusal. Am I stuck here? Should I have made her tab through instead?

    • Again, this will turn on how they report the score. I think they will have a very difficult time Scoring the assessment and then claiming they were not administered an assessment. In fact, that could lead to all sorts of fun letters copied to the TEA and the US Department of Education. At the end of the day, I do not think the TEA will back them up on this interpretation that let’s them lie for accountability purposes and then deny their lie when it comes to your opt out rights. Plus they would then be admitting they broke TEA rules by not “administering” the assessment to eligible students while still reporting them as scored. I think it is all talk.

      If they coded your child as A, then they are right, until they take a BOY screener. But the way to always beat their petty idiocy is to tab through and submit it.

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