What do you do when the STAAR test is used to decide if the child is promoted? They use this in 5th and 8th grade.
How to Opt Out/Decline/Refuse STAAR
In response to a lot of “how do I do this” questions, we’ve put together this step by step guide on opting out. This is a general guide of the various steps and forms a parent can follow to Opt Out of the STAAR assessment. If you are looking for an easy, non-confrontational approach, we can’t offer you that. Schools have been instructed to state that they can’t permit it. Some schools go further and falsely claim that state or federal law requires all students to take the STAAR assessments. Others even make implicit or overt threats to parents. So while all of our forms and letters are polite and civil, it is the rare school district that will work with you. As Peggy Robertson of United Opt Out said, opting out is, at its heart, an act of civil disobedience. So join the hundreds and thousands of parents locally, statewide and nationally who are standing up and speaking out against the standardization of our children’s education.
Inform the school that you intend to opt out of the assessment. You are not asking them to let you. You are telling them your decision. You can use the Master Opt Out letter, and customize it to your needs.
A lot of parents have asked whether you must tell the school. If you simply intend to refuse the assessment, you do not. However, if you want to preserve the argument that Texas law permits you to Opt Out, you must give notice as described in the Opt Out letters. We also encourage notice so that the school understands that the assessment system is being protested by the parents.
You will receive a response from the school telling you they can’t permit it. At that time you can send either the response letter (if they are citing legalities) or a follow up refusal letter (if they simply say they can’t allow it).
At this point, unless the school relents, you will need to make a decision. Either (A) Keep your child home on STAAR days or (B) instruct them to write refused on the test booklet and answer sheet, and to make no other marks. (Kids taking the computer administration should be instructed to page to the end, submit it and confirm their submission). If you choose (B) be aware the some schools have told children during testing that their parents just called and said it was OK to take the assessment. If you go this route, create a password that the child must hear before they take the assessment. If the teacher can’t repeat it, the child doesn’t take the assessment.
If you choose (A), you must be aware of not only the test days, but the full testing window. Schools may assess students after the main STAAR administration day as long as it is within the window. Testing windows may be found here.
Some school districts have permitted children to return to class on makeup days without being assessed. They have required that the child and parent come together to the office before school and write “refused” on the assessment. This is a common sense approach to a refusal to test. It keeps the child in class, minimizes absences and meets their requirements. You can request Return to Class on Makeup Days using this letter.
Note for 2020-2021: The TEA has expanded online testing windows to five weeks, which makes staying home almost impossible unless you choose to withdraw your student. On the positive side, for virtual learners, the TEA has decreed that the student must come to campus to be assessed, so as a parent, you can simply keep them home. They will also be score O for other instead of A for absent if this happens. Not a big deal practically, but it does give us a tool to measure opt outs this spring!
Some districts want to be punitive. They will threaten truancy charges or send notices about truancy. You should not ignore this. Rather, inform the school that you have engaged in a home school program on the dates of absence. Let them know that your program included reading, writing, social studies, science and citizenship. Once you have done that, you will have laid the foundation for a defense of truancy charges. It is likely that the school district will not proceed further at that point. For more information on Dual Enrollment Home Schooling, read this.
Update for 2017: The following addition from 2016 holds true. We have had no reports of any truancy related charges from opt out parents in 2016. >>> Update for 2016: Truancy laws have changed. The threat is no longer as great as it once was, although it has not entirely disappeared. In particular, the three day in four week provision, which was used to intimidate parents who held their kids out for a full testing window, has been removed! This is great news. An unvetted comparison of the old law and the new law is here.
This step used to talk about how 5th and 8th grade parents had to fight threats of retention. Great news! Promotion is not dependent on STAAR results in ANY GRADE! There is a recent change in the law which requires schools to provide 30 hours of tutoring (in a 3:1 ratio) for each STAAR assessment not passed. (HB 4545). Parents can opt out of this (see letter) and schools are not permitted to remove a child from foundation or enrichment curriculum to tutor them (i.e. no loss of electives!). Review schools forms and enrollment documents carefully. NEVER waive the 3:1 tutoring ratio unless it is part of an agreement that you are satisfied with to minimize or eliminate tutoring. Never sign it as part of general enrollment documents.
If your child either refuses to complete the assessment on an administration day or if they refuse on a makeup day, you should use the FERPA corrective letter to ask to have the scored assessment removed from your child’s educational records at both the state and local level. The TEA will still score the assessment, and your request will almost certainly be denied, but you can demand your letter be included in his academic file. For the more confrontational of you, you can also ask the district attorney to investigate the falsification of data that accompanies the scoring of refused assessments. (See this article). THIS SHOULD ONLY BE DONE AFTER YOU RECEIVE SCORE REPORTS.
Report back! We want to hear about any districts that act in a bad manner towards opt out parents. We also want to hear any stories of schools that are understanding and work with you! Use our contact form to let us know how it goes!
What do you do when the STAAR test is used to decide if the child is promoted? They use this in 5th and 8th grade.
The Education Code provides that a child who is retained due to failure to perform satisfactorily on the STAAR assessment can be promoted by a Grade Placement Committee. The GPC is not allowed to only consider the child’s STAAR results in deciding to promote or retain. The committee must consider grades and teacher recommendations also. We have a GPC Meeting Guide for parents posted in our Forms and Resources for more information.
My opinion it does not help thw kids at all they should go by their grades not by a test thats they do at the end of the year.. whats all that effort the kids do all year for..
I am having trouble accessing the “do not score” letter. I have used Microsoft edge and Google chrome and I get an error page that says “ooops! That page can’t be found.” My daughter is in 3 rd grade and starts her first test-reading STAAR- on April 26, so I am trying to do this with little time. Please help.
We no longer use that letter. The Step by Step has been updated. Thank you.
You are making us pay for the Do Not Score letter. We need it as the school is marking our son’s test as “scored” even though we opted out with the letter given to the school. Why make us pay for that specific letter? Thanks.
The Do Not Score letter is no longer in use. The FERPA Corrective letter was released for our subscribers initially. It is now released for general use. Running this website has costs and we use advertising and supporters to cover the costs. Would you prefer I pay all costs out of my pocket in addition to donating the time to maintain this site?
This doesnt work for Staar alt.
Studemts cant refuse staar alt. How woukd pare ts opt their kid out.
Testing window is a month..
Schools can accept parental refusal. Some do. Some facilitate it via ARD. But as we have pointed out in other comments here, for a school that is determined to fight you, it can be difficult to opt out. I’d focus on making them understand that they can accept your refusal.
There are grade placement committees who will place your child in the respective grade based on they’re yearly average
Grade Placement Committees promote or retain as a matter of law. Placement is not a GPC option.
This is no longer part of the law
Where does it say this? Our district is still saying it’s true. Or just haven’t updated their website.
Where does what say what? What are they saying is still true? I’d like to answer but need to understand the question.
Does the option to Opt Out of the STAAR test also apply to High School students?
So if we opt our kids out of testing.Do that means they won’t graduate? What are the repercussions of not taking it?
Explain how a parent can opt. Their child out of staar alt?
Or is opting out juat for kids who can talk and verbalize refusla?
Yeah, that’s a real problem. You would need a school that is willing to accept the parental refusal. Some ARDs have facilitated this. But with the expanded testing window, a difficult school can make this a hard goal to accomplish.
You can take your kid to school on make up days ten minutes too late for them to administer the test. I did this last year. Worked fine. If they give you a hard time you can say you can just keep your kid out for the rest of the day. Make it up to them if they want your kid to be counted as present for the rest of the school day.
I chose to keep my son out of school on testing days rather than have him write “Refused” on the test because he if wrote anything on the test he would have scored a zero. Since he wasn’t there for testing his STAAR results came back as “NOT SCORED.”
Parents who choose to do this should be aware that a school can extend testing past the scheduled end of the school day in order to enable completion. Most don’t because they have staffing issues, but it is a possibility.
As far as a zero on STAAR goes, when was the last time anyone was asked their STAAR scores for any purpose in life? For me personally, a Zero means the same thing as Not Scored.
Unfortunately, it does go against the schools overall rating for it to be a score of zero. So by doing all this you really are hurting the teacher who taught your a child all year, because it makes him or her look like they taught your child nothing. Also, this is hurting the school’s budget, which equals dollars that are taken away from your child’s public education. I’m not sure if it does,if it is simply “not scored.” But the zero does plummet the schools rating and funding from the state. This can also lead to the TEA stepping in and taking over a school for under performance. Sadly, the kids suffer because you basically have to teach to the test all year long when the TEA takes over. I’m saying all this to say, be careful with your advice. Parents want to do the right thing for their children, but is this really helping them?
Be careful with your own advice. Cite a single documented case of funding cuts, teacher reprisals or school takeover stemming from opt out. You can’t because it has never happened. All those things happen from opt ins. Stop spreading myth and urban legend just to gather more data.
I was excited to Read the info in this string until this comment. Unfortunately, all your credibility is lost. Rather than an organization trying to provide information for parents to make informed decisions for the best interest of their children, this shows the true motivation: attack anyone who questions. It’s frustrating because this is a significant issue for my family (and I’m sure many others), and I had been so encouraged that I had found a legitimate source of information.
Oh I see, one comment you deem intemperate means none of the information provided is good. No refutation of it, you just didn’t like my attitude? That’s your choice. But sadly in the last three years at exactly this time of year, people either anonymously or with their “title” come to this site and make baseless claims and talk about horrible potential consequences, that have never happened. In the Northeast, there are opt out number 25 times greater than Texas. They have never lost federal funds due to opt out. If someone comes on here making claims, as the site I owner, I am fully entitled to demand proof of their claims. That’s so you can make an informed decision. Maybe you found his post interesting and concerning. I found it a boring repeat of claims that have been made for the last three years with zero evidence to support them. If you want a legitimate source of information, I think you would like to see some proof that those claims actually have merit. I’m sorry, but after three years of this, I don’t have a lot of patience with scare tactics from anonymous commenters.
This comment is not talking about opting out. It is talking about writing on the test and receiving a score of zero. I can attest that schools and teachers are harmed when scores are low. I’ve lived through two schools being reconstituted, had a dozen friends lose their jobs because the scool had to cut a certain percentage of faculty. Let me be clear, I SUPPORT OPT OUT. I just think you shouldn’t hurt the teachers by writing “refused” and getting a zero.
Then it is up to the schools not to threaten and intimidate parents who opt out by keeping their kids home. Again, the things that you cite did not happen as a result of opt outs.
This site has sited not one single “law” protecting a child or parent’s right to opt out without the fear of the school district exercising IT’S rights as protected by out State Laws. I hate the STARR test with a passion and feel it is an awful waste of time our children could be using to REALLY learn subjects and not to simply learn how to prepare for testing on them. However, an equal it not bigger waste of time is the junk this site promotes and feeds your parents who would rather listen to someones twisting and spinning of the Texas Education Code not to mention many laws governing or supporting said codes. Wake up people…this site is doing nothing but feeding off your fears…
Actually, we cite 26.010 of the Texas Education Code. We also specifically note the possibile consequences of opting out. We also relay actual data to parents regarding such things as retention rates. Unlike the schools, which claim that 5th and 8th graders MUST pass STAAR to be promoted, we tell the actual facts. Unlike schools that tell 5th and 8th graders that they must go to summer school if they fail STAAR we inform parents of how the actual AI is determined.
As an “expert” can you cite a single court decision which contradicts our interpretation of any Texas statute. Of course you can’t because you would have done so in your little tirade. And of course if there were any such case law, we would have it cited already. By the way, you should read the Texas Supreme Court decision noting thay school districts have no “rights” – which is a very basic legal concept that you clearly don’t understand. Perhaps you should post stories of parents who followed the steps on this site and suffered terrible consequences. Oh wait, you can’t do that or you would have. Maybe you should tell them about how we posted a process to let parents view their child’s STAAR assessment that doesn’t work. Oh wait, it does work. Damn. You almost had us there. Maybe you should discuss the 300+ times the Education Code defines the STAAR as a test and not an assessment. Ah damn, I had that backwards. Sorry. Honestly, other than whiny vitriol, do you have anything to contribute. Maybe you should identify yourself so we can assess your credibility.
Ask any teacher that has been ostracized during a performance review because of student scores. Student scores are considered when a teacher is seeking a pay raise or seeking a promotion. As a parent, I encouraged my children to take the test because I lose absolutely nothing from them taking it. As a teacher, I loose salary and promotion points when students refuse/miss taking the test. Now you were saying about any case where “funding was withheld?” That’s how.
So because schools act badly due to high stakes, we should all jump on board high stakes? With respect to your pay, that has nothing to do with federal funding for 95% participation. Your comment is irrelevant and does not rebut my point in the least. Teacher reprisal? Again, I ask for specific anecdotes and not a single one was provided. But let’s examine your tale of employment woe. As a consenting adult, you chose to enter into a field that had those parameters to your compensation. Private schools don’t use STAAR so you could seek employment there. Or maybe you should go to work for a district that values you as more than a number. But a dyslexic child doesn’t have the choice to not be dyslexic while receiving his constitutionally guaranteed free public education. An English Language Learner doesn’t automatically get academic fluency so he can help you get a raise. Let’s focus on the kids who are the victims and not you for a moment, and understand that as a parent, if I deem an assessment injurious to my kids, or discriminatory against other kids, my duty is to act on that, not to make sure you get a raise.
Yes, tell em!!! Thank you for clearing that up. 🤗 This link has giving me all the answers to all the questions I’ve had and could not find ANYWHERE else. Thank you so so much!!! Btw, I am absolutely getting a kick out of and loving your replies to these people that obviously had nothing better to do than jump on a site they’re not for to talk crap.
Good! i am burned out with this bs test and some of these schools. I have begged for help and only when your child fails a benchmark do they decide more help is needed. Standardized test does not promote smarter children. Texas has a ridiculous expectation and we are very low rates in the us. They are doing plenty wrong starting w this test!!! Many kids can’t pass it and they don’t deserve punishment I am disgusted they hold students with disabilities to the same standards and refuse to support earlier on when a difference could be made. I personally have signed under ard to accept scores as is. The principal is now doing that for all special educational students. They only have to write their names and be considered in compliance as “participated”. Much better approach for special Ed. While that doesn’t help my younger child who is expected to take it this year in third I plan on using tools on here to opt him out.
So how do we get out of summer school if they fail the test twice? Hate STAAR! Mine are SpEd.
I am a Texas teacher. If a student does not take the STAAR test that in no way hurts me professionally nor does it affect the school budget or funding. I’ve been an educator for 26 years and parents need to opt out, opt out, opt out! Teaching is nothing but STAAR centered. Texas children are not receiving a quality education when all they’re taught is how to pass this standardized test.
Thank you for speaking up!
I’m so glad you said that because it’s the truth!!
Thank you for supporting those of us who feel we have to take a stand for our children and their education.
My mom taught for 25 years and hated preparing kids for the STAAR. She could never teach what she wanted to and the kids panicked. my 9 year old does great with class work, but freaks out and has panic attacks when it comes to these tests. I hate this time of the year because I’ll see as far as notes go are get a lot of sleep, eat a healthy meal and be at school on time.
Thank you for your honesty!
My neighbor is a teacher & he encourage me to opt out of the STAAR test. That must mean something? I opt out but they expect my kid to take it before entering 9th grade. I don’t want to get in trouble. Should I talk to the counselor? Thanks for your info. Keep it going.
You don’t want to get in trouble? The good news is that you aren’t a student anymore. The principal has no power to punish you. You are the parent. You make the educational decisions for your kids. There are not STAAR police. The schools won’t agree with you, but they can’t punish you.
I love and appreciate your reply! Unfortunately, I don’t think it applies today. (really wish it still did!) I am searching and searching for anything to justify me opting my 9th grade, very dyslexic son out of the English Staar testing for which they are doing the make up test tomorrow. He is having major anxiety about having to take this test. He was a remote learner all of his 9th grade year and made all A’s and one B. Bet ya can guess what class he got the B… yup, English! He does NOT test well and English is the worst for him! Oh how I hope you are still on here and have some insight for me.
That’s the problem… Teachers teach for this stupid test and ratings. It is the stupidest idea ever. Up north we never had such a test. Not all kids are good at test and shouldn’t have such pressure put on them or else. It’s a big money making scheme people.
The kids aren’t in service to the schools, teachers or to the district. It’s a perverted way of thinking to say that what is good for kids hurts the school so let’s hurt our kids.
It doesn’t make the teacher look bad. It makes administrative in the counselors and assistant principals look bad because they don’t do any accommodations or are not willing to hear the parents that have students who are 504, my daughter suffers from stress and very bad anxiety every time testing comes around. And nobody wants to hear that. She cannot test in big groups and they still continue putting her in big groups.
So did he get promoted to the next grade
We have had zero reports of opt out kids being retained. Not saying it hasn’t happened or can’t happen, but the people who post here are very vocal and if one of them had been retained, we would know it.
They threatened us when our daughter was in the fifth grade. We kept her home during test and make up days then asked for a grade placement committee. The meeting consisted mostly of threats and false law citations by them but we calmly replied and handed over printouts we had culled from this site and a few others to each committee member. They then told us they needed to stop the meeting and that it would be continued the next day with other administrators in attendance. They told us that we needed to bring a plan we planned to follow over the summer to make sure our daughter stayed on grade level (she was an A/B student) since she had missed so much school. We showed up the next day with 5 things listed on a piece of paper that we normally do every week/month (museums, vacations, library) and brought along her report card. The committee promoted her but made sure to tell us know they did not like having to do so and we had somehow damaged our child. She is now in the 7th grade. 5th grade was our first rodeo so to speak and I’ve learned since that if you walk in with a 5” binder full of Federal and Texas Code along with a few OCR and TEA manuals, the meetings tend to move more quickly and to the point.
What did you have in your binder. I know I will need this soon!
This is incorrect. We have students who come in two hours late and we still administer the assessment.
It’s not incorrect. Neither is your example. She didn’t say 10 minutes late, she said ten minute TOO late to administer. Meaning there isn’t enough time left in the day. This is a strategy many parents use successfully. The caveat is that schools can extend the day to complete the assessment, but most won’t due to staffing issues. But they could. It’s not a silver bullet but it usually works.
Just as a side note, teachers in a lower performing elementary school in Wichita Falls, Texas were warned at the beginning of the school year that teachers that did not produce acceptable scores would be fired. Teachers are forced to “write off” students who won’t make the cut, and concentrate on those on the borderline. Of course, those who exceed expectations sit idly by, stalled in neutral when they could have achieved so much more. Teachers are in survival mode.
This is absolutely true everywhere not just low performing. We are desperately trying to keep afloat.
Well isn’t that lovely! I live in WF and unfortunately my daughter goes to the worst elementary school in the district. My poor 10 yr old is crying, can’t sleep and has horrible stomach cramps tonight, the night before this f*****g test!
Keep her home!
At my elementary where I work and my 2nd grader attend . I in front office have to call any kids who are absent and get their parents to bring them to school unless they have fever… and our admins are willing to gonpick them up.. my daughter also gets stomach cramps and headaches during start.. so sad I feel so bad for these kids
Schools cannot force students to attend if they have no fever…This is legitimately not a thing.
What are you saying isn’t a thing? Schools calling parents on STAAR days and going to pick up kids?
Exactly pity the teachers who cares what stress and anxiety it is causing on children! This is why I have zero respect. They only care Abt themselves not Abt the poor kids who are having break downs over the pressure of this stupid test! Freaking strike teachers!!! Boycott the test! There’s an idea! If everyone hates it so much we all need to get off our butts and go with teachers to Austin and protest. We pay the taxes! Think they will listen when no teachers are in the classroom? I bet they will. But so far no one is willing to put up a fight to change it or the few who are don’t get back up. But give the kids help when their parents are begging for it. Just try writing off my children. Already died one district I’ll do it again!
The thing is SO many people talk but will not actually do anything about it. If every parent would stand up to the state then they would have to do something. I know there is not one person who loves this testing. I agree there needs to be sort of accountability but not a pass or fail.
But will you quit your job? But will you go protest and become unpaid and put your own kids and family at jeopardy to stand up for this? If not then don’t bash teachers. The people who make the real difference are PARENTS. Teachers do not have a lot of say in the matter. Parents can make real changes. Inform parents of their rights and how to be protected and I guarantee more people will stand up. BUT if you are not willing to lose your job about this then DO NOT expect teachers to lose their jobs over this. We are humans just like you who have to make a living for our family. Plus we have stood up for this many of times and nothing got done. So I will refer to PARENTS ARE THE ONES WHO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. So get up and do something about it.
My son is one of those that exceeds expectations. He is quickly bored and uninvolved when the same thing is done over and over and over just to get everyone to test standards. His grades suffer for it as well as what he could be learning and his enjoyment in learning it. That all started this year. I found out at Christmas (not from his teacher) that his reading level was atrocious. He can take a book I read and dissect it; noun, verb, adverb, prepositional phrase but he could not read the majority of it. That is an absolute disgrace and miscarriage of what our education system is supposed to do. He has been absolutely bent up, this whole semester, over these redundant assessments and benchmarks. I finally sat him down and explained that he is an OPT OUT kid and what that meant. He has been a completely different kid and student. To the point of his teacher’s making good comments about his attentiveness and vigor in the classroom, now.
The state of Texas requires five STAAR exams (Algebra 1, English 1 & 2, Biology and US History) in order for a student to graduate. By opting out of these tests in high school aren’t you preventing your student from receiving their high school diploma?
SB 149 is currently revisiting this requirement. However, review our article entitled “What About High School” for more information on options for parents of high school students.
So do they need to pass the staar test to graduate? My son is a senior and hasn’t been able to pass one of the staar test. They said he has one more chance to pass it or else he won’t graduate.
If your son has passed three of the EOCs he can graduate by Individual Graduation Committee. You need to tell the school you want his Individual Graduation Committee to meet.
I think this may be helpful for those parents of high school students!
Thanks for the resource! I am posting it, although I have not vetted it. Sometimes schools add things that aren’t in the rules.
to piggy back off this, I was a straight A student that was horrible at testing. I failed the Math test several times before giving up. I was not able to Graduate because of this. I have met all the requirements to graduate EXCEPT passing the Math test. Till this day they will not release my diploma until the test is passed. I just would like to know is this something that could possible help get my diploma by Opting myself out?
No, but there are numerous ways that people from the old assessment regimes can get their diplomas. If you have done any of the following things you can graduate by district decision:
(c) The alternative requirements for graduation shall permit an individual to qualify to graduate and receive a high school diploma if the individual:
(1) has met the performance standard on an alternate assessment as specified in §101.4003 of this title (relating to Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills Exit-Level Alternate Assessments);
(2) has performed satisfactorily on the applicable subject-area test of a state-approved high school equivalency examination in accordance with §89.43(a)(4) of this title (relating to Eligibility for a Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency);
(3) provides evidence of attainment of a Texas Education Agency-approved industry-recognized postsecondary license or certification;
(4) provides evidence of current active duty service in the armed forces or a DD Form 214 indicating honorable or general discharge from the armed forces; or
(5) has successfully completed college-level coursework and earned college credit.
A lot of people have taken a one hour PE or Intro to College course at the local community college to meet section 5.
I was told that since my son has failed one of the English tests (last years), that he had to at least ATTEMPT the test each and EVERY time it was given or he couldn’t qualify for the meeting to decide whether to grant him a diploma or not even thought he is an A/B student and has a good GPA. Our school has no give and will NOT agree to opting out without giving parents all kinds of grief! It’s all about the money they can get.
That is a misinterpretation of the law. SB 149 requires that they attempt it at least once. If they intend to substitute TSI scores, they must have attempted it twice. The school is required to continue to offer it. That is all. Also, there is no requirement that the school wait until the last possible administration to convene an IGC.
I am an advocate for students and you can opt out, but they will not graduate with a “diploma”. They will graduate with a certificate unless your child is in special education. If that is the case then there are various other options.
You really should better inform yourself. IGC students graduate with a diploma. Substitute assessment students graduate with a diploma. CVEP students graduate with a diploma just from a different institution.
Do we need to send all the letters and deal with the school, or can we simply let them stay home those days?? Then they just never take it. Just curious. (My son is in 7th)
You can certainly just stay home. The letters are an effort to do two things: (1) comply with the existing statute and (2) make clear the reasons for our civil disobedience. Since the schools deny the statute lets you opt out anyway, you can certainly save yourself the hassle of dealing with them. You will lose the opportunity to fight over what the statute actually means if you do that. Either way, make sure you let someone know (like your state reps) why you did it! It will take momentum to make changes here in Texas.
I suspect there are lots of parents who have been demonstrating their civil disobedience for years by simply keeping their kids home from school on those days.
It would be interesting to see the number of absences (excused and unexcused) for those days. The reality is that opting out is a war that will take YEARS of fighting before a satisfactory conclusion is reached. By the time the statue changes, their kids will be long out of school.
My oldest son graduated HS 5 years ago(from public school) and the “state testing wars” that started before he even entered elementary school is still going on.
I am giving serious consideration to homeschooling my youngest through the remainder of his middle school years (just as i did with my oldest for middle school) and possibly through high school.
I hate to say it, but it would take something DRASTIC (such as a huge failure rate across most grade levels, say 70% or more statewide) before statute changes due to a huge outcry and enormous pressure on politicians. That is when parents would finally be allowed to opt out without coercion to their families. Most people forget that politicians, leaders, decision makers at the upper echelons of our public educational system most often have kids that don’t even attend public school (if they have kids at all). They don’t want their kids caught in the public school political and funding MESS. They certainly don’t want to deal with TRUANCY threats at the first sign of a cough.(yes they attempt to level charges even against children with legitimate illnesses). These are your decision makers folks.
As for a co homeschooling & public schooling situation, working to satisfy truancy charges–highly doubtful. The reality is that judges can interpret the education code as they see fit and there is nothing in that education code that makes accommodation for a dual enrollment situation.
Homeschoolers have been fighting for YEARS for the right to be allowed to co-enroll for the purposes of playing sports and taking a select number of classes in public school. Its a battle that has been waged for years. Yet to this day homeschoolers are not allowed to attend a handful of classes in public school or play sports along with other PS students during school hours.
Sadly, i’ve even heard of parents so battle worn that they’ve resigned themselves to simply take the Class C misdemeanor charges along with the $275.00 fine for truancy and then worry about expunging the charges once their child graduates high school.
Oh and yes they are bringing charges against PRE- SCHOOLERS now, along with kindergartners, first graders, second graders etc. Frisco ISD and ALLEN ISD were featured in a Dallas Morning News article entitled “Petite Perps” last year.
No one has studied the psychological impact of bringing a child as young as a preschooler and kindergartner before a judge as if they are a common criminal. I suspect the potential damage is a lifetime of anxiety issues and panic attacks not to mention depression and an overall hatred of school/learning.
1. HOMESCHOOL your child if at all possible (not just during the staar)
2. Enroll them in private school FROM HOME if you cannot afford regular private school attendance.
3. If you can afford it, send them to private school if possible.
4. Some private schools allow for dual enrollment with homeschool (this cuts down your cost)
5. Graduate your child in 3 years instead of 4 years of high school.
My son,nephew and niece were virtually all done with their HS graduation requirements by 11th grade (except for one class) yet they were all FORCED to take a full load of classes because the district required at least 6 classes in senior year for the purposes of funding(warm bodies in those chairs). RIDICULOUS.
6. GED (General Equivalency Diploma) its still an option and from what ive heard more challenging than the regular high school academics/diploma.
With respect to co-enrollment, we really won’t know until a case is (a) filed and (b) litigated with competent counsel. There are school districts that allow co-enrollment, but they don’t advertise. The entire premise of “there is nothing in the Code that allows it” is backwards. The Texas Constitution gives all students the right to a free public education. There is no prohibition on that which says you must forego private education if you enroll in public schools. That is the proper analysis, not the reverse.
That said, if you enroll in public school, you will have to comply with the 90% rule and if your absences cause you to miss tests or other required classwork, you may be penalized. As far as truancy, I would love to hear any actual report of a child under age 12 being charged (not the parent) because that is completely contrary to statute.
My daughters school just slammed the parents tonight at meet the teacher night and threatened to hit the kids and parents with truancy if opted out .
If opted out of what? What district?
I wished I had known about these steps. I feel like I have failed my kids. I feel as if I don’t let them test, that all the Hard work and extra work that they have been given is all a waste of time and effort on their behalf. At our School in Somerset Tx, the school has Stopped teaching Science and History, due to only working on Reading, writing, and math skills. This truly concerns me. On one hand I want to see how well my kids have done but on the other hand I don’t care if they passed the dang test or not. Just feeling so lost.
I have a 8th grader who went to private school until last year her private school only went to 6th grade so the whole thing was a huge change from about 12 in class to 30 she was in Pre AP class’s to start we pulled her out of the math it was just to fast and not learning the rest of the class’s where pre ap and she/we worked hard for these class’s with tutoring in school and outside her daily work is great but when comes the CA’s they do here in Arlington TX. and exams she does not do well her math was after the first semester 80’s-90’s but test were low and her other class’s which were the pre AP class’s were 75-89 but when it came to the starr test she did not pass and now they want to make her take a starr class which to be able to keep the gym and band they have put her in zero hour which starts at 7:30-8:30 and then the rest of the till 4 they said that she has to take this starr class my question is does she and can we opt out of the starr test this year and she still be prompted to the 9th grade next year.
We are even looking at private school again it is just I want her to know how it is going to be come college and small private schools.
Can they make her take this Starr Class
Thanks for your time
We are wanting to Opt Out of this Testing for this next year but want to make sure she get to go on the 9th grade
When do you send the 1st letter?
do you have any advice for parents with kids that are on IEP’s or have developmental challenges? my son is in the 5th grade and will receive accommodations when taking the STAAR. however, he failed his 4th grade star and I’m concerned that his dyslexia will prevent him from passing this year and will be remanded. should we just opt out? he’s been on an IEP since kindergarten and has been promoted every year. while he isn’t at grade level on some subjects, he passes all his subjects.
My recommendation is, if you decide to permit your child to be assessed, to make a written request that all of his classroom and testing accommodations be given to him at the time STAAR is administered. They will respond that they are only allowed to give certain accommodations. You should then respond in writing, informing them that under federal law your child is entitled to whatever accomodations they are denying. It won’t change their approach, but it will protect your rights if you have to take further action.
I am in the EXACT same situation. Have you decided what to do?
It has actually brought my son to tears because he’s so stressed and afraid of the staar test.
Yes if they take the test tell the ard committee u want to accept scores as is and they will cite a law. Tell them your student has participated. That is what they claim is the law/requirement to participate. Then if they fight u tell them that if their supports were working your son would have passed. If they are still insistent after that demand crazy supports for your child. I did that and now they simple have kids in special Ed sign their name to the test and accept as participation. Being special Ed it is up to the ard committee on pass/fail not up to test scores and you are part of that committee. Refuse to check accept if they don’t do what u want
My son is in special ed I don’t want him to take that test…can you plz explain to me alil bit more on how I can try to do what you did?…I read what you posted understood some of it but still alil confuse any help you can give me I thank you for
Our children attend Glen Rose ISD. The superintendent has been extremely helpful to the best of his ability according to the TEA that binds our district. Our students are allowed to attend on testing and retesting days after an specific amount of time.
For example, last school year the high school students were required to have 5 hours to take the STAAR. With our high school releasing at 3:35pm, students are allowed to show up to school after 10:36 am without any repercussions. The score is marked as “A” for absent.
Lower grade levels have time requirements as well, allowing students to attend the remainder of the day after a certain time.
This is just a reminder that it is possible for students to still attend on assessment days.
Are the letters posted on this website good to use for 2016?
I’ve read this answer before so I apologize for being redundant…not having any luck finding the answer now that I need it! My question is this…If my 6th grader opts out in 6th grade, can he be forced to take remedial classes in 7th? (His teacher, in as many words, threatened that he won’t get to play football because he will have to take remedial math.) He has average/above average grades in his 6th grade math classes. I wish to opt out on principle as well as in support of my son who has huge anxiety thinking about taking this test. (We’ve opted out in the past but now football is “on the line.”)Thanks.
There is no legal requirement that the student be placed in remedial classes. If the school is threatening this, you will have to fight them on it.
I wanted to know what about kids that take staar alt. There is a window of testing that I would have to keep her out of. The school has already denied my letter. Do I have to keep her out the whole window?
Tragically, the TEA greatly expanded the STAAR-Alt window to a point where a parent really has only one good alternative if their school is not cooperative. That alternative is to withdraw the student from school for the entire assessment window and re-enroll after the window closes. If you decide to go forward with assessment, you should request in writing that all classroom accommodations be provided on STAAR, because TEA rules do not currently allow this. You should put them on notice that you consider that to be a violation of your child’s rights under federal law and that if any adverse action is taken as a result of unaccommodated assessment, you will seek to enforce those rights.
My daughter is in 8th grade and has never under stood math! Last year I unenrolled her for 2 weeks and the day she went back they sent me to court’ my ? Is she is beyond stressed to where she has chest pains and is sent home from school’ she’s depressed because she knows she can’t do it’ ‘ this year I will more than likely do the same with her’ she don’t need that stress in her life she’s to young and had a heart mummor! I guess my ? Is who is the decision up to if she don’t take the test? Is it the principal because she and the assistant principal are beyond against her going in and making all the other kids not want to take the test! Which is y I kept her home
The alt test is very low stress compared to the others. They are very casual and I see no harm in them. They are just like taking probes on IEP goals. At the students pace with frequent breaks.
Many SpEd parents disagree. And whether the administration is casual or not, they students are still assessed and the results used to rate schools and teachers. The STAAR-Alt remains inappropriate for many of the students who take it, and the passage rate is abhorrent. But obviously, compliance is a decision for each family to make on its own.
My son has dyslexia and was tested in school and given accommodations set up with an IEP and yearly ARD meetings. This year we moved into a new school district, I lost my husband just weeks before the school year and had plans to homeschool my son but couldn’t after the passing of my husband. He was enrolled into 5th grade at the new school almost 2 weeks into 2021/2022 school year and has missed some days due to us trying to cope with the loss of my husband, his dad. His grades in reading and math have been below 70s for most of the year and I’m just realizing how much I’ve neglected his education. I recently had and ARD meeting questioning his spelling test grades (grades of 20s 15s). I requested that they modify and accommodate with a shorter list prior and never heard anything back. When it was brought up to the teacher she said she would make changes but she still wants him to attempt all words and will only be grading the first ten.(which I think is BS) I also made them aware of papers I receive in his folder half completed sometimes nothing on them done and sometimes teachers requesting signatures from me with no explanation. I then proceeded to tell them how my son feels when coming back from seeing the specialist and how lost he feels when joining the class and not receiving any help to get on track with lessons. During that meeting I requested if I could shadow my son for a day to see how his day is structured and how he is transitioned from class to specialist and back to class. I was quickly told to email the principal bc he would be able to reply quickly. Emailed the next day but the following day he tells me in the parent drop off that he received my email and hasn’t forgotten and will reply soon. Day goes by and I see him and he immediately leaves into the gym. See him on an early release day and quickly heads into a hall and out of sight. March 7 was when I emailed this principal and I have yet to get a reply. Reading on my rights to opt my son out of Staar testing, How could his absences and grades affect him from moving into 6th grade? Can I use his progress from his previous school as proof that he is able to make the grade and show progress and should be promoted? Please let me know and if you have any other recommendations please feel free to send them ALL. I know children have testing coming up on may 10-12 I believe and I would love to save him the worry of having to take that BS test.
This doesn’t answer all of your questions, but be aware that some special ed depts use avoiddance as method to effectively deny things that parents request. At least in TX, u have a right to be in your child’s classroom, without any advance warning or explanation. Since they can’t officially say “no” they are avoiding you. Don’t let that keep you out of the classroom. Keep stating your requests / concerns, for 504/ SPED, in writing, and pointing out that they have not answered you. I have observed one Houston school that had
this non-answering strategy for Special Ed raised to an art level. It was maddening.
I am not a fan of testing. However, when you choose to send your children to public school, unfortunately state testing is a part of it. What are you teaching your children? If you don’t like something, you can simply refuse to do it? So, if they don’t like a book that they are required to read, they simply can opt out? If they don’t like a writing assignment, they can opt out? They don’t want to take a test, it’s ok, you can simply stay at home? Or, better yet, like one parent I know, we can just go to Disney World. This is what is wrong with so much of our workforce today. Too many employees have the attitude that they only have to do what they like to do and work should be as they please. Testing has gotten out of control. However, if you don’t like it, homeschool or go to private school! Don’t put the teachers and schools in a position, the majority are simply trying to educate your children and do the best they can to assure that your children are educated.
I’m not teaching them to be an unquestioning sheep, that’s for sure. There are plenty of you out there already. Why are you even on this page if you are sold out to the testing agenda? Let’s just deal with your “objections” one by one.
I am not a fan of testing. However, when you choose to send your children to public school, unfortunately state testing is a part of it.
I missed the part of civics that said we need to unquestioningly follow and do exactly what the government tells us to do. I’ll go back and re-read my constitution.
What are you teaching your children? If you don’t like something, you can simply refuse to do it? So, if they don’t like a book that they are required to read, they simply can opt out? If they don’t like a writing assignment, they can opt out? They don’t want to take a test, it’s ok, you can simply stay at home?
You are teaching your child that there are some things that are more important than compliance. A book, a writing assignment, a classroom test — those things are not, individually, turning the entire K-12 educational system into automatonic, bubble-filling, test preparation courses. Reading books is replaced with “close reading”. Writing assignments are replaced with 26 line “essays” that must stay within the box. In fact, your citation to those kind of assignments that are rapidly disappearing from our classrooms shows how uninformed you are about how the test-prep, drill and kill, assessment based curriculum has warped our public schools. So, yes, there are some things important enough to draw a line in a sand. It’s not about any one assessment, or any one assignment. It’s about the impact that corporate testing has on the public schools.
Or, better yet, like one parent I know, we can just go to Disney World. This is what is wrong with so much of our workforce today. Too many employees have the attitude that they only have to do what they like to do and work should be as they please.
My kid isn’t your employee, and if we think school is about training people to be little employees, we have the wrong idea. The economy doesn’t turn on workers bees. We need worker bees, but we also need leaders, innovators, artists, paradigm shifters and people who know how to think outside the box, or outside the bubble. We are losing that end of education, and that’s way more important than whether the state collects data on my child this spring.
Testing has gotten out of control. However, if you don’t like it, homeschool or go to private school! Don’t put the teachers and schools in a position, the majority are simply trying to educate your children and do the best they can to assure that your children are educated.
You can choose to quit and give up on public education if you like. I choose to fight and to return to teachers and local schools the power to truly educate, not test train our kids.
Very well stated
E. Heinz –
My child is an English Language Learner, adopted internationally with only two years of English. He is expected to take the same assessment native-speakers take. The “accommodations” built into the assessments for ELL students are shown by the TEA’s own research to not work. Any assessment of my child is not about content knowledge, because the language gap prevents accurate assessment by standardized test. Why should I subject my child to a system that has pre-determined the outcome by its means of assessment? The assessment violates his rights under federal law, especially when the outcomes are used to impose punitive educational outcomes. You can send your kids if you want, but my decision not to has nothing to do with just deciding we don’t feel like being assessed.
Being a parent of 5 beautiful children who are all individually intelligent I have to disagree with opting out of standardized tests sends the message you are indicating. Two of my children have special needs. One makes A’s and B’s on report cards; however, bombs assessment tests. From outer appearance it is hard to see that she has ADHD and suffers HIGH Anxiety. These tests send her over the edge. They beat her self esteem down and she feels like a failure although she has worked her buns off all year. The schools have been great with accommodations…such as small group testing etc…..but the results are the same.
My youngest child is ADHD and DYSLEXIC. He is highly intelligent. High IQ. But he learns and tests different then other children. Without going into the reasons why not all children fit into the mold of these tests I simply just want to say these tests are not a true indicator of what accomplishments a child will make in their lifetime or what type of employee they will be in the workforce; nor are they an indicator of how good or bad a teacher was.
And finally I have yet to meet a teacher in the last 5 years that are for the STAAR or any common assessment test.
There is a huge difference between illegal testing and a strong work ethic. Illegal testing for funding is a complete violation of a student’s rights, a strong work ethic is something you morally instill in your child
I graduated before any of this testing nonsense started, but there were some assignments I chose to opt out of. I was in high school and discussed them with my parents first. I then spoke to the teachers. One teacher was very understanding and provided an alternative. The other teacher was not so my parents talked with the principal. The principal suggested an alternate assignment.
In the business world, I have also had to refuse assignments when my boss gave me too many to complete on time. I was working 12-16 hours a day and knew one more job would mean I would miss deadlines. He wasn’t happy, but I was firm.
Sometimes you just have to stand your ground.
Thank you for gathering all of this information. Could you tell me more about unenrolling before STAAR and then re-enrolling after it’s over? I have a 4th grader now but I wonder if this would work for 5th when they must pass to advance. Would you keep this a secret or tell the school that you are doing it? What is the worst case fallout of unenrolling to avoid the test?
I’m still confused about the scoring part – if we opt out, does my child get a zero score?
If they are absent, no. If they go, and refuse the assessment in person, it is scored to the minimum scale score. Does it matter? Do you think a “zero” on an assessment that you didn’t attempt means anything? Do you think colleges, employers, or futures spouses will inquire about your child’s STAAR score?
The threat of a “zero” is nothing but a school effort to intimidate parents who were raised with the myth of the permanent record. It is a shame it still works.
“My recommendation is, if you decide to permit your child to be assessed, to make a written request that all of his classroom and testing accommodations be given to him at the time STAAR is administered”
My apologies, what is or are, “classroom and testing accommodations?”
Students with IEP and 504 plans usually receive certain accommodations in the classroom and in testing to permit them to fully participate in their education notwithstanding their disability. For example, a dyslexic student might have passages read to them and then they answer the question. A student with ADHD might take their tests in a quiet setting. There really are no limits on what accommodations students might need. It is an individualized decision. A parent of a student with an IEP/504 plan should request in writing that they be allowed to use the same accommodation for STAAR that they receive in the classroom.
I have never in my life dealt with a more difficult school than Hutto ISD. I think they spend more time threatening the kids than they do educating them. We tried to opt out & since then every single time my child is absent for a true illness we get threatening letters & harrassed. One 17 year old boy was removed from school by the principal last week due to absences. He was told to go get his GED, that they would no longer allow him to be enrolled there & the local judge here granted the schools petition. Now that I have more knowledge & a better understanding of my rights, Im going to fight this tooth & nail.
My other child attended Connections Academy, which is a K-12 online school. We also tried to opt out of the state testing & I received an email from the Connections Academy principal stating my child would be immediately unenrolled if we refused the test. Education has gone down the tubes since I was in school. I feel very sad for my children, and their children, if something isnt done to bring back the old school ways of education.
Thank you so very much for this website. Its given me a glimpse of hope and courage to let my voice be heard & to do what I know is best for my children.
My son is in 4th grade at a state school. Can I opt out for only writing STAAR, and allow him to take the reading and math? (He completed visual therapy and still needs to catch up on writing, when he writes, he struggles and I don’t want him to struggle for hours).
There is three make-up days for STAAR this year, if my son misses (stays home) on March 29th. Do I need to keep him at home for three more days during the make-up days?
I have put my son in a dual credit high school. He has been home schooled for 4 years, he was accepted to the dual credit high school for 9th grade thru 12th. They basically told me he has to take a Starr test to be able to start with the dual credit programs. If he didnt pass at least 3 of them, then he would not qualify for dual credit. How do we go about opting out of this one?
I sent two opt out letters for my 9th grader taking STAAR English 1 tomorrow. I have decided he can take a field trip to the museum in Dallas instead. This is the last email response from the high school principal below:
As stated in the letter sent out; students who are in attendance on the day of testing and choose not to participate or refuse to mark their answers on the answer document or in the online form and who are in grades 3-8 or are taking an EOC for the first time, will have their tests submitted for scoring as is, resulting in not meeting the required standard.
Local public school districts lack the authority to exempt students from STAAR testing, a state-mandated assessment. Further, Section 26.010 does not allow a parent to remove a child from school to avoid a test, and a moral objection cannot exempt a child from satisfying grade level or graduation requirements under state or local standards.
House Bill 5, 83rd Legislative Session, added new TEC §28.0217 to require each school district to provide accelerated instruction in the applicable subject area each time a student fails to perform satisfactorily on an end-of-course (EOC) assessment instrument.
This is a state decision, not a local decision.
Your thoughts on this?
Today my son went with the letter to school and he was pulled aside by the principal who told him his mama was wrong, threatened him with retention if he didn’t erase the “refused” and do the test. I with my attorney will address how they thought bullying and scaring a boy with autism into erasing his “answer” was acceptable. They said any student present on testing day must take the test; I corrected them and said I understand they must GIVE/ADMINISTER the test but you cannot force a child to write and forcing them to erase answers (even if it is “refused”) is illegal and a mistest.
Details on the school and grade level? Do you have a lawyer. This is so wrong! Please email me details at email@example.com, including attorney contact! Outrageous – that principal needs to be reported to TEA for testing irregularities
Thank you, I have been discussing these issues with my son’s school district. So glad to hear there are advocates out there. My son incurred a TBI, is on homebound teaching, has very little working memory, thankfully has learned to write again, remembers some multiplication tables, can read & provide his own hygiene. His physicians ordered “No Testing” of any kind…we know he has deficits. BUT…they showed up anyway with STAAR test in hand. The teacher was turned away – this was confusing & stressful for my recovering son.
Thank you again for your article. It will be followed & presented to the director of pupil services for my district.
My mother was a principle and an educator for almost 40 years and she recently told me that action is being taken seriously and that next year her principle friends say that they are positive that testing will be done away with in the State of Texas. Let’s hope so!
I live in Rockport, TX. My wife works for the school district. If a senior refuses to take the STAR test, there are no conditions where they will be allowed to graduate. Also, ACISD is very strict on truancy, they have multiple parrents and students fined and jailed for missing school.
Well this is simply not true, in that the TEA has substitute assessments available. Also, under SB 149, since a senior only needs to pass 3 of 5 to graduate, they could refuse the other two and still graduate.
I hope your school district has educated itself on the new truancy laws and is not making bogus threats about “3 unexcused absences in 4 weeks.”
Is this the most updated form?
Are there any updates to the content posted on this site, such as what happened to the letter sent by the Representative regarding parental rights and ESSA?
If someone can refer me to more recent updates (post Nov 2016), I would greatly appreciate it.
Good site – glad I found it.
My child is in 5th grade. If I opt her out of the STAAR test, I know that I can fight the accelerated summer school. However, are there any resources to help me fight the remedial math class that they will make her take in 6th grade. She will have to give up her only elective. Thanks!
My child is in 5th grade and has taken the first administration of the STAAR. He is now getting ready to take the 2nd round because he failed both math and reading. My question is this if he does not pass the math and reading will he have to go so summer school and then take the 3rd round of STAAR testing? What can I do to prevent this from happening? I feel that 2 times are enough. He gets all A’s and B’s on his report card. Please help!
I have a junior that the school is telling him he can’t graduate without passing the staar. Does all this information pertain to him as well?
I personally don’t care about hurting the school system. The system is a fraud. I don’t agree with all of the testing. Teachers graduate, take a state test, still not good. A doctor graduate, take state test. A lawyer, etc. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great people in the world. Putting all of this pressure on a child, does not prepare them for the real world. Yes I did say fraud. America has one of the lowest education Rating in the world. Oh, yes don’t forget in texas….read the small print on all those enrollment forms…..when you child is on the premises, on school bus, taking field trips….the school is not responsible for any inconvenience or tragedy..
Hello- I am glad you ae devoted so much of your time helping people.
I have a curious question-If a child in 8th grade fails a starr test in say English and Math, then can he write refused on his retake and it can end right there with a zero?
My son is on a 504 with ADD. He’s passed all his STAAR exams and passed all his classes up to this point. He is in 8th grade and he just failed his Math STAAR by 4pts. His average is an 88 in math and he’s a strong student. Even his math teacher was shocked. They want him to take the May 14th exam but the results wont be in until June 7th so they want him to attend from June 4th until June 7th. I don’t see the point in this because he’s passed all his classes and math class. I dont want to punish him for being an A/B student. He gets mad fun of enough as it is. Also he’s already enrolled in summer camps and we have vacation coming up so sending him from 4-7th wouldn’t matter bc he can’t attend rest of Summer School. I asked for a Grade Placement Review and was told he could not get one until the END of summer which will leave him and I in knots with the thought of possibly not being promoted to 9th. Honestly, can they NOT promote him even with all his passing grades and passing English STAAR but missing Math STAAR by 4pts???? I’ve heard that if he attends summer school and attempts all 3 STAARs that he WILL be promoted but we cant do 2 STAAR or even 3 but NOT attend summer school. Everyone is confident he’ll pass on May 14th but I’m not a person who likes to chance things. I’m already beating myself up that i didn’t try to opt out. Teacher was very nice but told me the problem was that i let him take the first test. If i hadn’t then we might have gone straight to GP review. She also said the problem with opting out is missing so much school and toying with truancy. Shes very kind and says she absolutely hates the STAAR, as did the counselor. Their hands are so tied as are mine. What can i do? He already thinks he’s “stupid”…..summer school will make this worse
Their hands are not tied. You might think they are being nice but so much of what you are being told is nonsense. He doesn’t have to attend summer school. They must schedule a GPC is he does not pass the second administration. That GPC will determine what instruction is needed to prepare for the third. Parents can request waiver of the 3rd administration. Schools can agree to waive and do a GPC right away. Your school is lying to you left and right and you seem to be falling for it. What district are you in?
At my son’s school, the kids who opt out of STAAR testing go on field trips for those days! They’re not extravagant trips, but they visit a local college or go to the zoo.If a parent opts out, the school ensures that child won’t have to sit in silence for 8 hours or be absent.
what school is that?
Hi! I have been interested in opting out of the STAAR test since my middle son went back to PS from home school. I decided to put in a smaller district so I kinda dropped it so that I didn’t create unnecessary waves at a school we are guests at. This upcoming year (he will hopefully be in 6th grade) I decided to bring him back to our local district. I called the local admin office since he failed the first administration of the reading by 4 questions and we are currently waiting on the results of the second administration and I was already told its ILLEGAL and i have no other choice but to have him test since I brought up that I don’t want him to quit school due to not passing STAAR tests. The lady of course got super mad and raised her voice (didn’t yell) as, i guess a scare tactic. Little does she know that I have super research skills and already looked into all this! Just looking to get this out since its not even day 1 and have already been (IMO) scared off from opting out. Just wanted to say thanks for this website, I found it years ago and am elated that its still here. Blessings!
If you have done your research why are you scared to opt out?
I have always said that when my child finally gets to 3rd grade, I will opt out Staar and now the time has come. We move from a big city Houston to a smaller one Colmesneil,Tx and I know the school is going to fight me, when I tell them in the meeting next week that my child will not be taking the test. She’s a straight A student… should I be worry about the school keeping her back a grade by not taking the Staar test??
3rd grade is not a promotion year.
How does opting out affect seniors? My son has never been a strong test taker…he gets test anxiety. He has passed his classes to graduate. Unfortunately, I have been informed that he won’t be able to walk with his class because he’s only passed 2 parts of EOC. I’m tired of my child being stressed out and discouraged.
You need to read this article: What About High School
I will not allow the starr test to hurt or hold my boys back. I will fight for them but considering the study all year for this test and not taking it in certain ways can cost a teacher her job or hurt the school district when it comes to money I make them take it. I mean they have worked hard all year for this test. No I do not agree or like this test and will fight for my kids if they tried to hold them back or anything because of their scores. I really wish they would get back to teaching what these kids really need to learn and not this test. Heck to get into college you have to take the sat test so why every year a starr test. Let’s actually teach them.
Carrie, I went back and forth on whether to approve your comment and refute it point by point, or just delete it as emblematic of the problems of sheepish parents that plague this state. I’m glad you are willing to fight for your kids AFTER they take the STAAR assessment, but you are wrong if you think that somehow means they won’t be hurt or held back by it. First off, realize that less than 10% of the kids who fail STAAR in 5th or 8th grade are ever retained. Chances are, even if your kids bomb STAAR, they won’t be held back. So don’t pat yourself on the back too hard for your willingness to fight. But make no mistake, your kids are being hurt by it EVERY SINGLE DAY. You yourself say “they have worked hard all year for this [assessment]” and they “study all year for this [assessment].” Then you add, “Let’s actually teach them.” Do you not see the huge gap in your logic here. You care about them taking this BS assessment because the school overemphasizes it all year, you think kids should have authentic learning and not just test prep, but because the schools want to prep all year, you make your kids take it. Hello? If the STAAR were a heroin addict, you’d cook the dope up for them. Oh and other than $25 attendance money, schools aren’t hurt financially if your kid doesn’t take the STAAR. That’s a myth. A kid not taking STAAR costing a teacher a job? No. Refusing STAAR while in attendance? The chance of one kid in isolation causing an issue is miniscule. But even so, why is the well being of your kid less important than the speculative future employment of a teacher? Do you send your husband to rent videos at the adult video store on the off chance that if he doesn’t the clerk might lose his job? Is that really your responsibility?
You say you are against this assessment? Act like it and stop enabling and excusing the bad behavior of the TEA. Start with denying them what they prize the most: your kid’s data.
Good morning and thank you for putting all of this information together. I am about to inform the school that my daughter will not be taking this joke of an assessment. My question is about a statute quoted in the beginning of the opt-out letter. The Texas Education Code 26.010 states 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.” Does the religious/moral objection supplant that inability to avoid a test or is that they don’t refer to it as a test but an assessment. Sorry for my confusion on this. Thank you again for putting this all together. I was a student in Texas that had to take the silly TAAS? test and it was a joke then.
Also, I apologize if this has been asked/answered before. I just didn’t see anything on it, or missed it entirely. Thank you for your time.
Please read this article.
My daughter is in eight grade and wants to opt out of the staar. She has been accepted and is attending a private school next year (independent from the school district), and I was wondering if it would affect her at all with highschool? If she was to choose to move to a school within our district later on in highschool would it affect getting in or not? Thank you!
If the private school that she is going to is accredited, when she returns to public school she will be in the same grade level as she was at the private school. Missing STAAR will have no impact on that.
I’m extremely excited to read everyone’s responses and have submitted the OPT out letter to my daughter’s 3rd grade teachers and principals.This test has caused her so much anxiety and stress she went from having 1 teacher teaching all subjects in the 2nd grade to 5 different teachers and this staar test requirements. It important that the kids grasp core curriculum all school to help further their education, not all core curriculum and tons of prep test for this staar test. I will report back on what becomes of the opting out for all of those who are curious to know the outcome. Thanks ADMIN For the site and templates, i greatly appreciate your help.
i was looking on the Birdville ISD website and found this “No “Opting Out”
By law, all students enrolled in Texas public schools are required to be assessed with the appropriate STAAR tests during the designated testing windows. The Texas Education Code does not provide students and parents an option of not testing. The district is required to provide test materials to all students in attendance and mark test answer documents as Score if students have the opportunity to complete the test. Students in grades 5 and 8 who do not pass the reading or mathematics test are subjected to SSI requirements, which includes receiving accelerated instruction and retesting. Students in other grade levels who fail STAAR are also required to be provided accelerated instruction. “
Due to truancy threats for the school district, I sent my son to school on a testing day. Never Again!
I hand delivered my moral and ethical objection letter to the administration and his teacher earlier this year.
My son wrote refused on his test today, but he was unable to turn it in as the teacher would not take it. He completed the exam because he felt pressured by the test admin to complete the STAAR exam.
We have asked to convene an attendance committee to make up seat time and/or decide if he met the requirements of the class.
Take a look at these lies. https://www.friscoisd.org/departments/testing/standardized-testing-faq
What are the 2020-2021 updates for opting out for virtual learners? I have heard conflicting information. This source says TEA is requiring virtual learners to come in person, but another source says TEA changed that and is not requiring virtual learners to come in person for STAAR. Thank you.
Sorry, I meant to include the source for my comment above.
My child has advance math in 8th grade and was told she will not receive her high school credit if she does not take the math staar. She was told she can pass the class but no credit and will have to take that class again the 9th grade.
We have heard several reports of this, but that is not any requirement in the Education Code that we can find. I would ask the school to provide a copy of the statute, regulation or policy they are relying on to say this. Do they say just take it, or take and pass it?
How do we (parents) know that the school has entered “O” for other rather than “A” for absent when we do not take our online learner student into school during the STAAR administration days? Is there a way to verify this?
“Note for 2020-2021: The TEA has expanded online testing windows to five weeks, which makes staying home almost impossible unless you choose to withdraw your student. On the positive side, for virtual learners, the TEA has decreed that the student must come to campus to be assessed, so as a parent, you can simply keep them home. They will also be score O for other instead of A for absent if this happens. Not a big deal practically, but it does give us a tool to measure opt outs this spring!”
I am not sure how that Code is reported in the online portal. I would send a letter reminding the school of what they need to do.
Are these steps accurate for high schoolers this year as well? I see references to middle school but not high school.
Yes, but be sure to read the article What About High School.
My daughter is in 5th grade, and is doing remote learning right now. They offered to make accommodations for my daughter at school on testing day, but I politely declined. This was her teacher’s response “I will let (the principal) know. She will be put into math and reading tutorials in 6th grade and won’t be able to take any honors classes.” Can they do this?
Does this encompass the STAAR Alt 2 as well?
I teach 5th-6th self-contained class, and this test is ridiculously difficult for my students. Most of my students can’t even read and just randomly choose answers. They have to take it because they are “able” to choose answers. This is so absurd.
Yes, it encompasses all STAAR. Obviously, in this case, parents will have to be more active, but see our latest article on parental refusal and the TEA.
This website is honestly a bunch of BS! I agree with not wanting to take the test but the clause this website states is clear and explicit: “(a) 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. (b) This section does not exempt a child from satisfying grade level or graduation requirements in a manner acceptable to the school district and the agency.” This whole website is just spewing misinformation. Students who would pass the test otherwise are now being “opted out” (won’t get their diploma) because of this website.
Sigh, you might want to read more than one article before you decide you have a clue about what you are talking about. We are absolutely clear about the process, the issues, and the plans for graduation. Sounds like you have an agenda or a comprehension issue, Lura. I have an idea, why don’t you and I do an online debate and we’ll see who knows the issues better. firstname.lastname@example.org Let’s set it up.
Lura — *exactly* what information is misinformation? Please cite what you’re seeing here that will result in not getting a diploma. Scores of parents have opted their kids out of STAAR and EOCs and they’ve gotten their diplomas. Schools are required to administer STAAR, however parents do not have to allow their kids to participate. Grade promotion is not dependent on STAAR, and as long as classes are passed, and credits are earned, STAAR can (and should) be made irrelevant.
There is a TEA representative (Julie Cole) who outlined how schools may accept parental opt-outs/refusals without fighting and without penalties. So there are sanctioned methods for this to be done. These are the methods that are provided on this site — so no misinformation is being shared with anyone. What BS are you referring to?
The TEA itself even has standards set in it’s own publications in regard to middle and high school students who use alternate assessments instead of EOCs to meet graduation requirements (so therefore there is a method that is “acceptable to the… agency”).
Here you go, take a look:
Ma’am I don’t know why you want a flawed, unhelpful, data mining, expensive assessment but you are totally wrong about its falling for a scam. I’ve been a member and successfully used the info here to opt the kids out. Not submitting to STAAR will not prevent any child from being a diploma. There are substitutes to most EOCs, there are projects given through IGC to satisfy graduating requirements and if all else fails cvep can be used to get a certified diploma. You really need to have facts before spouting uninformed nonsense.
Calm down KAREN! You’re the one spewing misinformation, and it is because of people like YOU that some kids won’t get their diploma. GET OUT OF HERE!
Parents, I can assure you this website has put together all legal and valid information and done in a very great manner. My freshman child has indeed used his PSAT score to substitute the EOC assessment. My senior refused her History exam and successfully completed requirements through the IGC. My two Elementary aged children have never taken the STAAR. And you know who guided me into ensuring all the information here is valid? Not just the administrators of this site but TEA themselves.
My three are graduating this year from Waltrip High School this year. They used a substitute assessment for English and only took one EOC history Test because they could not score high enough on the substitute assessment for Math. . They are also attending a four-year college next year.
Lura I am here to prove you wrong as my child has already used the TEA APPROVED substitution tests for STAAR. So what kind of supporting information do you have that backs up your claims? I know I have my supporting information that debunks your claims. 🤷🏼♀️
Hi Laura, my daughter is a senior this year with Connections Academy online school( online public school based in Houston, Tx). She’s had good grades her entire high school years. We found out last month she has to take the US History STAAR for not taking it in 2020. She hasn’t taken a history class this year at all. So that is added to everything else she’s doing to graduate!! What are the other things students can do to grafuate I’ve been hearing about? My son who is in 7th, is also freaking out about this test( also with Connections), we were also told she cannot graduate unless she passes. Thanks for any help!!
Has she passed three EOCs (or substitute assessments?) If so, she can graduate by IGC. You need to read this article: But They Have to Pass STAAR to Graduate
Also, Connections is owned by Pearson — the company that makes STAAR. I’d recommend a new school.
You sure sounds like a school admin. Which one are you-Principal or teacher? I assure you there are plenty of Texas kids who have graduated without taking STAAR. You should take time to read this site better. You may be able to help your children or children at your school not have to be subjected to the STAAR.
Laura, parents have been opting their children out of the STAAR for a while now, and watching them walk across the stage to receive their diploma. Nothing on this site is incorrect, and the person who put it together works tirelessly to stay up to date on the laws regarding all the information he shares. Not a single college or university even glances at STAAR when accepting students. Also, the TEA statement you so proudly quoted uses the word ‘test.’ Let me define that for you: “a procedure intended to establish the quality, performance, or reliability of something, especially before it is taken into widespread use” (a simple google search, copied and pasted.) The STAAR is not a test, it’s an assessment, which is not the same as a test. The definition of the word ‘assessment’ is “ the evaluation or estimation of the nature, quality, or ability of someone or something” (yet another super easy google search.) Basically, a test determines how much knowledge you’ve retained on a specific subject, while an assessment, in this situation the STAAR, decides whether or not your “smart” enough to thrive in life. You should really educate yourself thoroughly before spewing your negative opinion. I’m calling it an opinion because nothing you said is a fact. My children have not reached graduation age yet, but I’m here to tell you, as the parent, I have every right to opt out of STAAR, and anything it entails. And I, along with all the other parents who utilize this website, will continue fighting for my children.
Lura, my junior is set to graduate on track next year. She has substitute assessments for everything but US history, but we have a plan for that. She will refuse the exam next month so that she has an “attempt” and then we will call an IGC. She is in dual enrollment US history so she is creating a portfolio of her work to submit that. My freshman already has algebra I substituted with last year’s PSAT. His English I is substituted with his PSAT from the fall. He took the ACT last weekend to substitute for biology. Follow Scott’s advice, he definitely knows what he is doing.
I’m guessing you are simply pushing an agenda (what is unknown) since you have not done any legwork. My senior is about to graduate and has never done staar (ps it’s an assessment not a test). Her substitute EOC’s were approved in writing via school admin last fall. I’m even more curious to know why you are invested in STAAR and promoting erroneous info?
My child is scheduled to take the English Ii EOC tomorrow. His campus assessment coordinator will put his name on a STAAR answer sheet, mark it “S”, and send it off to the TEA. He will not even go to school in the morning to refuse in person. The district will mark it as attempted and wait until he takes the ACT next year to use it as an alternative assessment. I sent a single email to the district director of accountability and assessment. My child will return to campus for sixth period tomorrow.
Why was there was no pushback or attempt to make this more painful than it needs to be? This will be the fifth year my child has refused STAAR. It was tenuous at first, but I learned the facts, educated my district, wouldn’t take no for an answer. When you have facts on your side all the petty arguments and manipulation disappear. I learned all the facts here.
Lura, actually what you said IS THE MISINFORMATION!
Thanks this website and the fb group my sophomore has now 3 STAAR assessments subbed already. Alg 1 was waived by covid, eng 1 subbed by psat, eng 2 subbed by tsia. All this towards GRADUATION
Lura, debate with Scott please as he requested. It would provide you with a platform to share your information with us; then in turn, you can learn the truth of the matter.
Are there amy specific types of lawyers that help with this in case it gets ridiculous? My bc daughter is going to high school next year and I don’t want her to take these tests.
Can’t opt out for senior year. My son has a long long history of failing the English STARR. Even though he is dyslexic and tries really hard and has accomodations, he still can not pass it. Now they want to talk about him not graduating, even though he will have enough credits. What does a mom do now?
What of my child already took his STAAR test freshman year and did not pass them, but passed all his classes. They are requesting he take classes(by taking these he will not have any electives) to assist him so he can retake the test sophomore year. Can I still opt him out?
You need to read these articles about high school:
It is illegal for them to remove him from electives in order to put them in STAAR tutoring. DO NOT AGREE TO THIS. You can always opt out, but you must have a graduation plan in place for high school.
What about high school kids – my child’s high school counselor told me – without passing the 5 required exams – they only get a certificate of completion and not an actual high school diploma and without that he will be unable to enter the military as he plans ??
This website contains numerous articles about High School Opt Out and graduation. Try this:
As a side note, the first parent we know who used the CVEP process did it precisely so her kid could report on time for military induction and it was completely successful. You just need to be prepared to tend to your needs, not the school’s.
Does anyone know if the same process of sending a letter for another test like the TELPAS is appropriate. My now 8th grader still keys being revived from class four times for ,,1 and a half to two hours for a test she doesn’t need anymore. She has “lost” all her Spanish dice second grade and is taking pre ap classes including English just enrolled in Spanish to learn it, but they keep taking her out for an English language proficiency test? This doesn’t make any sense. They finally barely responded something to the effect she hasn’t passed advanced high in speaking and something to the reading staar score. My kid doesn’t want to miss her classes anymore
Yes same process. You will need to customize your objections to TELPAS. The other thing is that at her age, she can start refusing in person. Just say No thank you, my parents do not allow me to participate in this. Prepare the school so they will send her back to class when she says this.
I opted out but never heard a reply….no one has ever opted out before so I’m worried.
You should follow up with the school to determine how they intend to facilitate your refusal to participate in assessment. I advocate presenting a plan to them and then trying to work out a solution they can agree to.
Great information, thank you! Coming at this from a different perspective: my child took US History as an online course over the summer of 2020 and passed with a 95. At the time it seemed like a good use of their time so they could add in a different extracurricular this year as a junior. She has no interest in re-learning the material for the STAAR this year while she is studying for AP exams. Even though she already has credit for US History, I presume she will be expected to take the STAAR too?
Yes but if she gets a 3 or better on AP History she can substitute that for STAAR!
I have a curiosity. All of my older children are in advanced classes. I have one son in elementary, no advanced classes (because they don’t offer them in his grade level. He is well above his grade level, but he has a 5. Last year we went on vacation during the STAAR test. I told the school we wouldn’t be here. They didn’t seem to care when I told them. Two days later the teacher called and begged for my son to take the test. He had one more day of school before we left. They gave him all of the tests in that day, by himself. He had an IFSP, he has a 504 and IEE. I am just curious why they fought so hard for him to take it.
Probably because as a 504 student he is part of a subgroup that they wanted to make certain participation/achievement results in. Just my guess. Stop enabling the system and opt out!
I have a teacher friend saying that opting out is no longer an option. Is this true?
Does the state own your kids?
You can opt out.
Are we still able to opt out a student in the 9th-12th grade? If so, whats the deadline for the opt out and how do you go about the process? We have testing in about a month and would like to opt out. Advice and info greatly appreciated!! 04/05/23
Of course you can. In high school, you will have to form a plan for graduation that does not include STAAR. Read these two articles for more information.
As for how to go about it, you are literally reading the Step by Step article. Can’t say anything more than that. As for when to give notice: When DO I Give My Opt Out Notice
My son goes to connections academy. Online public school, (not considered homeschool) so he’s assigned Houston school district t in Texas. I just submitted that I plan on sending an opt-out letter. I have a feeling they are going to come back with not letting him attend next year if he doesn’t take the staar. If that happens what can, or should I do?
When you make a decision to enroll in a charter school you give up certain parental rights. You can of course refuse to allow your child to participate in STAAR. They may choose then to disenroll him. But parents can always refuse STAAR. If charter school is more important, then you have to make a choice.
My daughter is also in a Texas online school. I am working on the opt out letters now. However is it an option for me to just pull her out of the school so I can begin homeschooling?
Yes, you always have the option to withdraw from school.
My child is in 8th grade and attends Texas Online Preparatory School. Does the option to opt out also apply to online schools?
A parent always has the option to opt out. Whenever you attend a school other than your home campus, and particularly a charter school, you have given up some of your parental rights. You can definitely opt out. The charter school may choose to re-enroll you next year or they may be punitive and you have to find another school. You basically have to decide if your charter school is more important to you than STAAR.
First year opting out, have looked online and through files and through comments and not sure if this question has been asked. So far the school has accepted our denial to participate in STAAR and will place my student in a separate room to work on other assignments during the STAAR test dates. We have a plan with my student to refuse or tab through if they
School still presents the test to her. As we approach the STAAR dates a few classes are preparing students through STAAR based review assignments. She is practicing her refusal with denying participation. These assignments are now listed as zeros. Is there anything we can do or say to request a change of assignments since they are STAAR based and we are refusing to every extent possible, or does she have to complete those assignments regardless of them saying STAAR review as they are grade based for reporting? For perspective she is a mid-level student as is passing with low b, these missing assignments from this last week (4) are dropping her grade to now failing.
You can always request an alternate assessment. But the school does not have to give you one. Remember, if they choose to do those assignments, at least those have no punitive consequences on other people!
Will you go to the next grade if you don’t take the star test.
There is no STAAR based retention in Texas
My girls are transferred students at there school. I was told today that if I opted them out that it could go against them and they would not be allowed back. Does anyone have any information with something like this?
Any school that is not your home campus can remove you for pretty much any reason. Whether they will actually do it or not is a different question
But if their grades are low 70’s year round how would that impact their placement for the following grade level?**
There is no STAAR based retention in Texas. Read you Boar policy EIE (Local) It will tell you how promotion is determined.
Link to “do not score letter” is unavailable
That’s because we no longer use it. I’ll update the Step by Step.
So my daughter has yet to pass the STAAR test every year she has taken the test but is still passing all her grades..she can continue to go onto the next grade. She’s in 7th this year. She is so nervous and doesn’t test well at all. I remember taking a test when I was in school and never passed mine, and it didn’t prevent me from going to the next grade. Now they are telling the students that if they don’t pass the STAAR test that they will have to repeat the grade. I think this test is ridiculous…
I love the information in here and have “off record” shared it with many parents. I think it is a shame that some schools put this pressure on both students and adults for this assessment. I read some comments that their teachers said there is no opt out and a response is that the teacher is lying. I personally did not know much about the STARR or some of the rights, so maybe those teachers didn’t know either and are just listing what they hear. Maybe this is a learning opportunity for them, too. But calling them (teachers) liars is not helpful. Now school campuses or districts lying is another story lol.
Text is hard to decipher tone for me, so I may have interpreted some of the comments in a more defensive way than they were intended. Like I said, this has been one of my go-to websites to share with parents, because unfortunately, some schools bank on parents not knowing their rights.
Not defensive. Assertive. Parents are attacked by schools and their employees, sometimes including teachers, whenever they try to opt out. If you come to this site to do that, we’ll push back harder than you. That’s a promise.
Will be keeping both of my 8th graders home tomorrow. One is in 504 and the other is in ARD. If I run into any problems I will update this.
A friend of mine just got the dreaded summer school letter. Her son is a 3rd grader. They told her he didn’t pass math- scores aren’t out yet!
They told her it was a new “ local” policy that he must attend summer school or he will be retained. I told her to absolutely refuse. Have you heard of other schools saying its their new policy?
No, check board policy EIE Local