STAAR test 'opt-out' for special needs students not an option

      Texas law requires each child in school to eventually take the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test, and it doesn't exclude students with special needs.

      Jennifer Thomas' son is in the third grade. It's the first year he's required to take the STAAR test, but he's a third grader with Aspergerâ??s syndrome, ADHD and other medical conditions.

      "It takes him longer to grab onto concepts, his brain races faster than most children," Thomas said. "It takes a lot more repetition with him than with other kids."

      Thomas said on top of the stress of studying for the test outside of school, she now has to worry about balancing his medication.

      "The ADHD medication starts to wear off in the evening," Thomas said. "For us to be able to get him through all the work for the test we have to increase his medication again to keep him on task through the evening."

      Member of the Texas State Board of Education Marty Rowley said he agrees with parents that the STAAR test is more rigorous than others before it. However, he doesn't agree with the latest trend of parents choosing to 'opt-out' their children from taking the test.

      "If a student doesn't show up to take the test, it's counted as an automatic zero," he said. "Then it eventually looks bad on teachers, the school and the school district."

      Rowley said if parents feel that strongly about the STAAR test public opinion may be the only option to get legislators to listen.

      "Keep in mind this is all legislative determined, and so the more public opinion voiced the better off the system could be," Rowley said.