House Bill 5, passed by the Texas Legislature this spring, made substantial changes to the state’s graduation requirements, moving from the current “4×4” graduation plans to a 22-credit Foundation High School Program that allows students to earn endorsements in specific areas of study by completing four additional credits.
This requires the SBOE to make a number of policy decisions, such as deciding which courses will count as advanced mathematics, English, and science courses, and determining the requirements for each endorsement area.
The following are the endorsements students can earn:
- STEM, which includes courses directly related to: science, including environmental science, technology, including computer science, engineering, and advanced mathematics;
- Business and Industry, which includes courses directly related to: database management, information technology, communications, accounting, finance, marketing, graphic design, architecture, construction, welding, logistics, automotive technology, agricultural science, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning;
- Arts and Humanities, which includes courses directly related to: political science, world languages, cultural studies, English literature, history, and fine arts; and
- Public Services, which includes courses directly related to: health sciences and occupations, education and training, law enforcement, and culinary arts and hospitality;
- Multidisciplinary Studies*, which allows a student to: select courses from the curriculum of each endorsement area and earn credits in a variety of advanced courses from multiple content areas sufficient to complete the distinguished level of achievement under the foundation high school program.
The board will have a public hearing on September 17th in room 1-104 of the Travis State Office Building in Austin to receive input from educators and others about the changing graduation requirements.
Those who wish to submit written comments about the graduation changes may send their comments to email@example.com through September 10th.
Some of the issues that need to be addressed are:
- The number of courses that a student must complete to earn an endorsement.
- Should they require courses for any or all endorsements?
- What courses should be included in the endorsement options?
- Which courses should count as an advanced math or science credit?
After the public hearing on September 17th, the Texas Education Agency will craft a proposed rule dealing with graduation requirements. The board will then consider this draft rule at its November 20-22 meeting in Austin. If the rule receives preliminary approval in November, it will be posted in the Texas Register and there will be a 30-day public comment period. Comments during this time may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A final vote on the changes is expected during the board’s January 29-31 meeting. All board meetings will occur at the Travis State Office Building at 1791 N. Congress Ave. in Austin.
These new rules will not go into effect until the 2014-2015 school year. As updates become available they will be posted on the Texas Education Agency’s website (http://www.tea.state.tx.us/graudation.aspx)
* Districts are required to offer at least one endorsement. If they only offer one, it must be the Multidisciplinary Studies endorsement.