Raise Your Hand Texas commends the SBOE for preserving legislative intent of HB 5 by empowering school districts to create more customized and flexible student paths to graduation.
On Friday, January 31, several months of due diligence and deliberation by the State Board of Education culminated with a vote to formalize rules surrounding new high school graduation programs introduced as part of a bill passed into law during the 2013 legislative session.
In November, we shared in a blog post how the legislature passed into law HB 5, authored by Representative Jimmie Don Aycock, which reduced the number of high-stakes end-of-course exams required of high school students and moved the state away from a one-size-fits-all curriculum, known as “4×4.” The previous approach was replaced by the new Foundation High School Program, designed to increase college and career readiness by providing more variety in college graduation paths and allowing students to further explore personal interests and talents.
Algebra II – the hot button issue
The biggest debate was whether Algebra II should be required of all high school students to qualify for graduation or whether to allow students more flexibility in choosing other math courses more relevant to their anticipated future pursuits. The SBOE ultimately decided Algebra II will continue to be required for those choosing the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics endorsement (STEM), but others may select a third math (outside of Algebra I and Geometry, which are required of everyone) from a long list of offered math courses, including two new ones decided on by the SBOE: Algebraic Reasoning and Statistics & Risk Management.
Raise Your Hand Texas statement
Dr. David Anthony, CEO of Raise Your Hand Texas, praised the SBOE for its work related to HB 5 over the last several months and the final vote. “Shaping course paths to graduation and weighing the interests of school districts, students, and special interests is no small task,” he said. “The State Board of Education took that responsibility seriously, listened to all sides, researched all the possibilities, and structured rules that empower school districts, industries, and families to decide what is right for local communities. We believe the final rules reflect the original intent of HB 5 and struck just the right chord for Texas public schools and students.”