State senate bill provides option for students to repeat grades, courses if affected by pandemic

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 5:29 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 27, 2021 at 7:54 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Parents and guardians who are concerned their child may not be ready for the next grade due to disruptions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have a new option: elect to have their child retake a grade or course.

Senate Bill 1697 establishes a new Texas education code that allows parental option for student retention.

Each age group has a different option on retention. For pre-kindergarten students, parents or guardians can elect for students to repeat pre-kindergarten or enroll in Pre-K if the child was eligible to enroll the previous school year and has not yet enrolled in kindergarten.

For kindergarten students, parents or guardians can elect to repeat kindergarten or enroll in kindergarten if the child would have enrolled in kindergarten in the previous school year and has not yet enrolled in first grade.

For grades first through eighth, students can repeat the grade the student was enrolled in during the previous school year.

For courses taken for high school credit, students can repeat any course in which the student was enrolled during the 2020-2021 school year.

Texas Education Agency spokesperson Frank Ward said this opens the door for parents or guardians to decide, but this new process does allow for some group input.

“Ultimately schools can come back to a parent and say we think that your child is ready for the next grade, and they can basically have a consultation on that but ultimately it’s the parents’ decision,” Ward said. “It’s a parent empowerment bill. I think it’s really important now more than ever for parents to have more say in their children’s academic futures.”

Ward said those interested must consult the school district with a written request before the school year starts.

For more information on options, go to Texas Education Agency.

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