The Texas State Board of Education finalized the rules that will be used to implement much of HB 5. HB 5 eliminated the Minimum High School Graduation Plan and replaced it with the Foundation Graduation Plan. A student may also opt to earn one of five endorsements that were created by HB 5. The bill gave the state board of education with the responsibility for establishing the rules for each of the endorsements. On February 12, 2014, TEA released a document that outlines the rules.
There has been a great deal of interest in what courses can be used to create a pathway for a STEM endorsement focusing on computer science. Below is what we know at this point in time.
A student may earn a STEM endorsement by completing the foundation and general endorsement requirements which include Algebra II, chemistry, and physics and choose from one of the following:
(A) A coherent sequence of courses for four or more credits in CTE (courses from chapters 130 and 127). This would include Computer Programming and Advanced Computer Programing. These courses must consist of at least two courses in the same career cluster including at least one advanced CTE course. The final course must be selected from the STEM career cluster.
(B) A coherent sequence of four credits in computer science selected from the following courses:
- Fundamentals of Computer Science
- Computer Science I
- Computer Science II
- Computer Science III
- AP Computer Science
- IB Computer Science, Standard Level
- IB Computer Science, Higher Level
- Discrete Mathematics for Computer Science
- Digital Forensics
- Game Programming and Design
- Mobile Application Development
- Robotics Programming and Design
- Independent Studies of Technology Applications
(C) A total of five credits in mathematics by successfully completing Algebra I, geometry, Algebra II and two additional mathematics courses for which Algebra II is a prerequisite
(D) A total of five credits in science by successfully completing biology, chemistry, physics, and two additional science courses.
(E) A coherent sequence of three additional credits from no more than two of the areas listed in (A), (B), (C), and (D).
If a district chooses to create a pathway that would include a combination of computer science and computer programming courses in the CTE and Technology Applications curriculum strands, they may do so by using the options in letter (E).
This will provide districts with the flexibility to offer courses that best meet their needs as well as their students. The employment statistics certainly indicate that individuals with these skills will have multiple options for high-paying jobs when they graduate from high school and college.