Across the state, parents are wondering how to help their school-age children after a school year ruined by COVID. The Texas Legislature may have provided one answer.

As Texas Scorecard reported in June, scores on the 2021 State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness, or STAAR test, showed that students suffered due to the year of remote instruction.

At the time, Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath said it was “painfully clear that the pandemic had a very negative impact on learning.”

Senate Bill 1697, passed in the regular 87th Legislative Session and signed by Gov. Greg Abbott, gives parents more of a say in their children’s education and combatting the deficits caused by the past school year. 

The Texas Education Agency announced last week: 

“Given the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the 2020-21 school year, the Texas Legislature passed SB 1697 to give parents new rights to determine whether their children should repeat a course or grade.” 

Now, parents may decide to hold back students who did not learn enough during the past year. To further explain parents’ options, the TEA set up a website to help answer questions.

Parents seeking to hold their child back a grade must notify the school district in writing before the school year starts. This program is limited to the 2021-22 school year for students in fourth grade and up. The option is permanent for parents of pre-K through third-grade students if they feel their children need an extra year to learn.

“The good thing is that parents can make up their own minds if they feel like their kids are falling behind,” said Keller parent Kathy May. “The bad thing is that the activist schools, teachers, and administrators will have another year of public school to indoctrinate children.”  

The TEA also released information for parents looking for back-to-school resources. 

Parents may check with their local district if they want their students to repeat a grade.

Tera Collum

Tera Collum has 13 years experience as a government and economics teacher in Texas public schools. She recently was the director of The Travis Institute of Educational Policy and Teachers for Texas.