A recent posting on the Texas Parent’s Opt Out Facebook Group raised the issue of schools removing children from elective courses several days a week for STAAR Intervention or Tutoring. Thanks to some information from teacher members of the group, we were alerted to a provision of HB 5 that limited pull out instruction to 10% of the total class days, unless a parent agrees in writing to a larger number. This is consistent with attendance credit provisions found elsewhere in the statute that require 90% attendance to receive credit. (See discussion from Texas Music Educator’s Association) This provision was put in place to limit schools ability to remove kids from elective courses without parental agreement.
The actual statute is clear:
The board of trustees of each school district shall adopt and strictly enforce a policy limiting the removal of students from class for remedial tutoring or test preparation. A district may not remove a student from a regularly scheduled class for remedial tutoring or test preparation if, as a result of the removal, the student would miss more than 10 percent of the school days on which the class is offered, unless the student’s parent or another person standing in parental relation to the student provides to the district written consent for removal from class for such purpose.
Tex. Educ. Code sec. 25.083(b). This does not mean, however, that a school district has the unrestricted ability to deprive a student of 10% of their elective class periods. A parent can decline or opt out of accelerated and remedial STAAR instruction under section 26.010. A form AI opt out letter is available on our site.
This 10% pullout statute may be one reason we see more school denying electives and creating actual remedial classes. In that regard, the statute may have negative unintended consequences. As a parent, you should continue to advocate for your child’s schedule and the removal of remedial classes that you deem unnecessary. If your child is placed in a remedial class, the school may deny that Opt Out is permissible under the statute. You should verify that the class is listed in the district’s course catalog, and if it is not, inform them that you are not avoiding an entire class, but rather that your are refusing remedial instruction. If the school has placed a remedial STAAR course in their catalog, your can still argue that the class is not a “subject” as your student is already enrolled in subject courses. Rather, it is a remedial tutoring class, which you object to and refuse to enroll your child in.
If a school district refuses to remove your child from a remedial class and refuses your right to opt out, please notify us using the Incident Report form!