FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- Can my child be promoted to the next grade if they opt out of STAAR? Your child can opt-out and still be promoted to the next grade, The Grades 3-8 promotion law changed in 2021.
- Can I decline tutorials or summer school? You can decline HB 4545 tutorials if your child opts out or fails the STAAR simply by sending a letter (en espanol aqui) to the principal. You are legally allowed to decline the accelerated instruction tutorials and summer school. Here is a link to TEA’s FAQ on HB 1416.
- How much time should a child spend at school? Schools are under extreme pressure to have a good STAAR rating and will pass this pressure on to parents and kids. It is wrong to force children to spend more than 8 hours a day sitting at a desk.
- When is the STAAR test administered? Click here.
- Does my child have to stay home during the entire STAAR testing window? No. If a parent refuses the STAAR in writing to the principal/teacher, the school is not required to make the student attempt the STAAR on make-up days. This means that the child can now opt out without having to be absent for the entire testing window. Texas Education letter and background are here.
How will my child’s test be scored if they opt out?
- If a child is absent during the entire testing window, the assessment will be marked as A for absent and will not be scored. No STAAR opt-out letter is required. Since students must have at least four hours to take the STAAR, you can also send your child to school late each day (less than four hours left in the school day).
- If a parent submits an opt-out letter, the child can attend school and not take STAAR without missing school. However, the blank test will be marked as scored (with a zero score) even though the child did not take the STAAR assessment.
- Does my child have to take the STAAR test to graduate? Yes and no. Read more at https://www.houstoncvpe.org/high_school_opt_out. The state of Texas requires that students pass (or substitute criteria) 5 STAAR exams (3 in 9th, Eng II in 10th and US History in 11th) in order to graduate. A high school student can opt out of STAAR and still graduate if they qualify for a combination of substitute assessments, IGC and other options. Read about high school opt out here and fill out the opt out form bit.ly/optouttexas, and ask for a CVPE member to contact you.
- Will opting out affect magnet applications? STAAR is not used for Vanguard applications. For magnet applications, there is a scoring matrix that does not include STAAR. Magnet applications use 4th and 7th grade scores.
- If my child opts out, will they put them in STAAR prep the next year and remove their electives? Yes and no, The school may try to put your child in accelerated instruction or a STAAR prep class. State law does not allow a school to remove electives from a child’s schedule without parent permission.
- Will I or my child get in trouble for Opting Out? No. There is nothing in state law that allows for schools to punish your child for opting out. Your child cannot be declined recess, electives or field day for opting out. However, since the Texas Education Agency makes it hard for teachers and schools to publicly support opt out, you may be pressured to not opt out. Additionally, some school leaders will not be forthright with information because of pressure from the state, the district or their own misunderstandings. Fill out the opt out form of the information on these pages comes from TEA policy or state law.
- Will my school lose funding if I Opt Out? No. School funding is not tied to test scores. Schools are funded by the state using average daily attendance tied to a state allocation of about $6100 per student. The funding is arbitrary and needs to be increased but it is not affected by STAAR scores.
- Can my ESL or emergent bilingual child Opt Out? yes
- If I opt out, how will it affect my school? Unfortunately, in Texas, schools are given ratings based almost entirely on STAAR scores. Therefore, the impact on your school depends on how your child would have performed on the STAAR and whether or not you are submitting an opt out letter or being absent. If the majority of the school opts out, there will be an impact on the school’s rating. Ultimately though,it is more likely that at any one school, few students will opt out and there will be minimal impact on the school’s rating. The over-reliance on high stakes testing in our public schools does far more damage to public education. Opting out is a powerful way to stand up for the schools our children and teachers deserve-low stakes once per year standardized testing, meaningful instruction, fine arts, joy and inquiry.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!
- You have the right to refuse!
- Learning should be enjoyable. All of this STAAR testing makes kids hate school and makes teachers leave the profession they love. Texas is too fixated on testing and accountability.
- If you submit an opt out letter, your child’s STAAR will be given a zero score even though your child did not take the STAAR. This is a Texas Education Agency policy that should change. It is TEA trying to coerce schools and families to take the STAAR. No university looks at STAAR scores.
- You have a right to know! TEA has warned schools not to inform parents of their right to decline HB 4545. Please tell TEA to stop pitting schools and parents against each.
- There is NO SHAME in opting out! Your child has unique gifts and talents. You are a good parent/caregiver regardless of participating in STAAR.
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