Saturday, June 8, 2013

Texas House Bill 5 reducing exams from 15 to 5 still awaiting Governor Rick Perry's signature

From Texas Association of School Boards Legislative Update

"The House and Senate unanimously adopted the conference committee report for HB 5 (Aycock/Patrick, Dan), sending the bill to the governor

Gov. Rick Perry has yet to sign or otherwise make his intention known on the bill, which would significantly overhaul graduation requirements and reduce high-stakes testing. Perry may sign, veto or allow the bill to become law without his signature.

It is critical that those supporting HB 5 call the governor's office at 512-463-2000 and urge him to sign HB 5 right away. TASB and other education groups sent this letter to the governor asking that he sign it.
HB 5 would:
  • Reduce end-of-course exams from 15 to 5: Algebra I, U.S. history, biology, English I and English II (reading and writing would be combined into one exam for both English I and II).
  • Replace the current minimum, recommended and distinguished graduation plans with a foundation graduation plan consisting of four English credits; three science, social studies and math credits; two foreign language/computer programming credits; one fine arts credit; one physical education credit; and five elective credits (22 credits). 
  • Eliminate the requirement that end-of-course exams must count toward 15 percent of a student’s final course grade.
  • Create a distinguished achievement and endorsement graduation plans, including endorsements in STEM, business & industry, public services, multi-disciplinary studies, and arts & humanities.
  • Require four science credits and algebra II for automatic state college admissions under the top 10 percent rule and state financial aid, and allow all students to be eligible to apply for Texas colleges. 
  • Eliminate cumulative score requirements for end-of-course exams.
  • Allow districts to administer state-developed Algebra II and English III exams for diagnostic purposes.
  • Establish an A through F accountability rating system for school districts beginning with the 2016-17 school year, while campuses will remain under the existing exemplary, recognized, acceptable and unacceptable system. (HB 5 makes no provision for the delay of accountability ratings for upcoming school years.)
  • Grant the commissioner authority to join a CTE consortium of states.
  • Prohibit schools from pulling students out of class for more than 10 percent of class time for test preparation or remediation without parental consent.
  • Prohibit a school from giving any student credit or a final grade for a course if the student was not in attendance for 90 percent of the days a class was offered.
  • Require all districts to offer Algebra II.
  • Allow a district to offer an apprenticeship or training CTE course that leads to an industry-recognized certificate or credential.
  • Not include language regarding career exploration courses, which address the foundation school program and courses required for automatic admission to state schools, for students in grades 7 and 8.
  • Require the SBOE to adopt at least six advanced CTE courses, including courses in personal financial literacy and statistics, that satisfy the fourth credit in math.
  • Require school districts to partner with at least one institution of higher education to offer college prep courses in English and math.
  • Require TEA to provide to districts information on the advantages of the distinguished and endorsement graduation plans, to include automatic college admission and state grants.
  • Require all students entering grade 9 to select an endorsement, allow students to change endorsements at any time, and allow students to opt into the foundation plan with parental consent after grade 10. 
  • Allow a student to satisfy a fine arts credit by participating in a community-based program not provided by the school.
  • Allow students to substitute a course for the second foreign language course if it is clear the student will not be able to complete a second foreign language credit after completing the first.
  • Prohibits schools from administering more than two benchmark tests per student per subject, not to include college readiness exams such as the SAT or ACT.
  • Require TEA to minimize the effect test administration has on a campus and student instruction."