Sunday, May 26, 2013

House Bill 5 passed unanimously in Texas Senate and House - brings needed flexibility to high school curricula

House Bill 5

From Texas Tribune - Click Here
"HB 5, from House Public Education Chairman Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, passed both chambers unanimously ...", with members of both the House and Senate who had previously opposed the bills explaining why they now supported them. 
State Rep. Mark Strama, the Austin Democrat who was one of two no votes on the bill as it initially passed the House, said he now supports it because it brings needed flexibility to high school curricula while maintaining high standards. But he said the bill’s reduction of state standardized exams would make it more difficult to gauge the progress of low-income and minority students and may fail to address what lawmakers are trying to correct with student assessments.
“We defined the problem with testing in Texas as the number of tests,” he said, “but really it was because of the stakes we had attached to those tests that created a culture of testing rather than learning.”
HB 5
· High school students would take a foundation curriculum of four English credits; three science, social studies and math credits; two foreign language credits; one fine art and one P.E. credit; and five elective credits. They would add a fourth science and math credit when they select one of five diploma "endorsements" in areas including science and technology, business and industry, and the humanities.
· To qualify for automatic college admissions under the top 10 percent rule and state financial aid, students must take four science credits and algebra II must be among their four math credits. 
· The state will require five standardized tests in English I, English II, algebra I, biology and U.S. history. School districts will have the option of offering diagnostic exams in algebra II and English III that will not count toward their accountability rating.
· Districts will get an A through F rating; campuses will remain under the existing exemplary, recognized, acceptable and unacceptable labels."