Texas Prepares for New High School Diploma Rules

Jul 15, 2013 by

Some Texas high school students who failed state standardized exams this spring were given a reprieve under the comprehensive education bill that Gov. Rick Perry signed in early June.

Under current law, they would have had to take 15 state standardized exams to graduate. With the changes in House Bill 5 that begin in the coming school year, they will need to pass only 5. Shortly after Perry signed the bill, which cleared both chambers of the Legislature unanimously, the Texas Education Agency announced that current high school students would not have to retake exams they had failed in any of the six subjects that the new law removed from the state’s testing requirements. They are algebra II, chemistry, English III, geometry, physics and world history.

But as educators welcome the relief that the legislation brought from what were widely considered onerous state testing requirements, some school districts are now looking ahead at another part of the law, which will take effect in the 2014-15 school year and broadly expand the courses that will count toward a diploma.

“It’s truly changing the paradigm of how we will begin preparing our students for a successful career,” said Mary Ann Whiteker, the superintendent of Hudson Independent School District in East Texas near Lufkin, who also leads a statewide association of small and midsize schools.

The legislation did away with a state curriculum that required all students to take four years of math, science, English and social studies unless they opted for a “minimum” diploma plan. Now all high school students will take a foundation curriculum that includes four English credits and three credits each in science, social studies and math. Most will then go on to earn fourth credits in math and science, along with other required course work when they select a diploma “endorsement” in one of five areas: science and technology, business and industry, public services, humanities or a multidisciplinary option.

via Districts Prepare for New High School Diploma Rules | The Texas Tribune.

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