CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Texas Senate Bill 1697 will provide parents with new rights to determine if their child should repeat a course or grade at a Texas kindergarten, elementary, middle or high school.
The Texas Legislature passed the bill because of disruptions to the state educational system caused by the COVID-19 pandemic during the 2020-21 school year.
This law is one of several new rights the Legislature has granted to Texas parents for the upcoming school year. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is compiling resources for parents to support this and other decisions they may have the opportunity to make. For more information, follow this link.
“I think its fine because some kids didn’t get the full time in school and they didn’t get the attention they might’ve needed. So, I think it’s good,” parent Maleny Gonzalez said.
This option pertains to the parents of nearly 25,000 children across the state who were eligible for kindergarten in 2020-21, but did not enroll. It also will affect kindergartners who had a significantly disrupted school year. Resources to inform this decision can be found here.
For children in older grades, the decision for them to repeat a course or grade could be the right one for those who struggled academically during the pandemic year. Resources to inform this decision are available here.
“They shouldn’t be struggling too much, but I still understand the point where a child learns better with the teacher one on one, things like that," said Laurie Lopez, who works as a teacher. "So, if they need to be held back, sure why not?”
Any Texas parent who believes his or her child would benefit from repeating a course or grade now has the right to make this decision, but must act quickly.
If parents decide that it is best for their child to repeat a grade or course, they must inform their school in writing before the start of the upcoming school year.
One parent believes it's beneficial after seeing how her son made educational strides by partaking in summer school.
“I think it’s better because he had trouble in school when it was virtual because he has ADHD," said Suzy Jo. "So, when he had to go to summer school it helped him he’s reading now on his own and… he’s more of in-person not virtual. He was not doing well with virtual.”
Because schools are making plans now, parents interested in this option should contact their school as soon as possible to let them know of their intentions.
The final decision as to whether a student needs to repeat a course or grade in the upcoming school year is now a Texas parent’s to make, though schools can provide input to further inform a parent’s decision.
For students in fourth grade and above, this option exists only for the 2021-22 school year, but for Pre-K through third grade, the option is permanent.
More information on the process along with resources to support parents in making the best decision for their child can be found on a new TEA webpage that will provide extensive information here.
The TEA also has produced an explanatory video showing how the process works here.