When it’s time for your child to start learning to drive, you want the best program with the best curriculum and, of course, the best instructor. And that’s why you’ve chosen to look into Parent-Taught Driver Education, because who knows your child better than you do, and who can teach her how to drive better than you? But it’s not easy to slog through the information on the websites of various Texas-approved online Parent-Taught Driver Education providers. And that’s why we’re here: We’ve done that for you so that you can take an objective look at what these courses offer and decide which is best for you and your teen.
Features of All Star Driver Education’s Parent-Taught Driver Education Course
While All Star Driver Education’s website seems to be full of information at first glance, thanks to a long list of links, it’s actually sorely lacking in details about the course. The home page only mentions the classroom-based Michigan course, and clicking the “Teens” link at the bottom of the site takes you to a page that tells you some of the things a teen will learn through the course. There’s no real information about the course itself, though. When you click on “Register for a Class Today,” you’re taken to a page with a Google map and prompted to enter your zip code. But enter any Texas zip code, and nothing happens.
The only information All Star Driver Education provides about the Texas online course is in the FAQ section of the site:
The price of the Parent-Taught Driver Education course is $59.99, which is considerably less than what seems to be the typical price of $99 or thereabouts.
The only information provided concerning what’s included in the course is that it’s designed with 12 modules, it’s fun and effective, and it’s packed with interactive features. There’s no mention of what materials, if any, are provided to the parent for the in-car portion of the course.
In-Car Portion of the Course
The FAQ states that “Texas law requires all teen under 18 to complete 7 hours of in-car driver training and 7 hours of in-car observation with a licensed driving instructor in a TEA-approved program.” They don’t mention the 30 hours of supervised practice that’s also required, and they don’t mention anything about driving logs or behind-the-wheel lesson plans. But they do specify that they don’t offer the in-car portion of driver’s education. This is confusing: Do they mean that they don’t offer the materials for that portion, or that they don’t have any driving instructors in Texas to teach the in-car portion?
In regards to the question of how certificates of completion are obtained, All Star explains, “We will need to see proof that you completed the course (passing the final exam) and that you’ve completed 32 hours of driving as well.” But they don’t say how you’re supposed to provide that proof, and you’ll notice that the driving hours have increased from “7 hours of in-car driver training and 7 hours of in-car observation” to “32 hours of driving.” Again, Texas requires 44 hours of in-car training and observation.
The Parent-Taught Driver Education Packet
Another FAQ reads, “I have not received my parent-taught packet yet.” We’re told that you have to order the packet from your local DPS office. A link to the form is provided, but there’s no mention of what this packet is or why you need it. They also don’t tell you that if your child starts the online course before you have received this packet, he’ll have to start the course again from the beginning.
There’s no mention in the FAQs about whether the course can be taken on mobile devices, and there’s still the question of how on earth you’re supposed to register for the course when nothing happens on the registration page once you enter and submit your zip code.
On the Phone with All Star Driver Education
After fiddling around on the site for much too long with zero results, it was time to put in a call to All Star Driver Education. The representative was knowledgable and friendly and explained that in order to register for a class, you have to click the “Classes” link at the top of the page, then click “Online” from the menu that shows up. Then you click the “Register for a class today” link, choose Texas from the drop-down menu, click on “Parent-Taught Driver Education,” and voila! There it is, and it only took a half hour of clicking in circles, followed by a phone call, to find it.
The representative also said that there are no parent materials included in the course, and that everything the parent instructor needs is in the Parent-Taught Driver Education packet provided by the state, except the driving logs, which are included in the online course. This is the only course we know of that doesn’t provide lesson plans and other materials for parents for the behind-the-wheel instruction portion of the course.
How it Works
First, you order your Parent-Taught Driver Education packet from the Texas DPS. Once you receive it, your child can begin taking the course. After the first 6-hour module is completed, All Star Driver Education will send a completion certificate that you’ll take to the DPS, where your child will take a written exam to obtain a learner’s permit. The remaining 26 hours of instruction will be completed along with the behind-the-wheel training.
Once the course is complete and your child has passed the final exam with a score of 70 percent or better, another completion certificate is sent. You’ll take this certificate to the DPS, where your child will take the driving test to obtain his license.
Now, was that so hard? Why on earth isn’t this information clearly stated and easily found on the website?
What Others Say About All Star Driver Education
Nowhere on the Internet are there reviews about the online Texas Parent-Taught Driver Education program offered by All Star Driver Education, but Yelp features five one-star reviews and three two-star reviews of the Ann Arbor, Michigan location, which is a physical driving school. Apparently, they frequently cancel or reschedule classes without notifying the students or their parents.
A search of the Better Business Bureau’s website turned up goose eggs for All Star Driver Education, which couldn’t be found in their system.
Rating for All Star Driver Education
Given the convoluted nature of the website that makes it very difficult to find information about the course, the curriculum, and how it all works, we’re giving All Star Driver Education two out of five stars.
The course may be just great, but the lack of information about it on the website, the absence of reviews for it around the Internet, and the fact that the information about driving requirements was incorrect or misleading in two places on the site makes it difficult to feel confident about the quality of the course and the veracity of the information it contains. There’s no money-back guarantee, so if you do purchase this course and find that it leaves as much to be desired as the website does, you’ll be out $59.99 and you’ll still have to find another course.
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