The State Board of Education (SBOE) is expected to make decisions regarding the new graduation requirements that will be implemented beginning with the 2014-2015 school year on the following timeline:
November 20th – Proposed rules will be filed and discussed; public testimony will be taken
November 22nd – SBOE is expected to approve rule language for new graduation requirements
December – Official Public Comment Period
January – SBOE is expected to adopt the final rules for new graduation requirements at its meetings Jan 29th – 31st.
The SBOE will consider these draft proposed rules for the Foundation High School Program
With the close of Texas’ Fiscal Year 2013, the General Revenue (GR) balance is $2.76 billion, an improvement of $6.46 billion from FY2012. This turnaround in revenue for the state is the largest experienced this century. While the change in balance was the largest experienced, the balance was only the fourth highest, as demonstrated by this chart.
Now that sweeping reforms to education have been made in the form of HB5, business leaders and educators are coming together to figure out how to best implement the portion of the law that creates new graduation standards for students. HB 5 created multiple pathways for students to either embrace the four-year college degree or choose a track that better prepares them for a career in the skilled trades. In pushing the reforms, the Senate champion of the bill, Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, repeatedly said it was all about “honoring blue collar work” and understanding that even though college is a great option for many, it’s not the best thing for everyone. Making this a reality, however, will require communication between businesses that will end up hiring the students in the future and the educators who are teaching them now. Industry leaders in construction and the petrochemical sector will meet in Houston next month to talk about ways to better cooperate so that the schools are equipping students with the kinds of skills employers need them to have.
Recent News Stories
TASA Offers Recommendations on Proposed Graduation Rules
On Friday, TASA provided recommendations to the State Board of Education regarding draft graduation rules recently posted. The suggestions were prepared with input from educators, parents, and members of the business community. The following organizations have endorsed the recommendations: the Texas Association of School Boards, the Texas Association of Community Schools, the Texas Association of Mid-Size Schools, the Texas Rural Education Association, and the Texas School Alliance.
Statewide school finance lawsuit set to resume in 2014
On the heels of declaring the state’s school finance system unconstitutional Feb. 4, state District Judge John Dietz decided to reopen the school finance lawsuit that Fort Bend ISD joined in 2011. The case is currently on appeal at the Texas Supreme Court, and the trial is set to resume Jan. 21, 2014.
Final 2013 Accountability Ratings Released
TEA released the final 2013 state accountability ratings for more than 1,200 school districts and charters following an appeals process of contested district or campus ratings that were originally announced in August. Under the final 2013 ratings, almost 93 percent of school districts and charters achieved the rating of Met Standard. TEA received 85 appeals in 2013; four of the 19 school district appeals (21 percent) and 11 of the 66 campus appeals (17 percent) were ultimately granted.
TEA Seeks NCLB Waiver Amendment on 8th Grade Algebra I Testing
TEA is seeking to amend its conditional No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waiver to address the issue of double testing of students taking Algebra I at the middle school level. In a Nov. 6 letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Commissioner Williams asked that Texas be allowed to use the Algebra I EOC test as the single subject area assessment in middle school. Without federal approval, Texas middle school students (primarily those in the 8th grade) taking Algebra I will have to take a grade-level assessment to meet federal requirements as well as the state’s Algebra I EOC to meet high school graduation requirements.
In the land of multimillion-dollar stadiums and NFL-caliber indoor practice facilities, the perception is that Texas high school athletic programs spare no expense. Yet there is a small item overlooked by some districts. If a student athlete without health insurance gets severely injured, that could lead to financial ruin for the family and a diminished health outcome for the player. Catastrophic care insurance offers a safety net for students who suffer life-altering accidents or illness while participating in an extra-curricular school activity, with policies providing as much as $7.5 million of coverage in cases such as spinal cord injuries, brain injury, infection or stroke. But coverage is not mandatory in Texas, nor is it officially recommended by the state’s public school extracurricular governing body, the University Interscholastic League.
Results from the 2013 The Nation’s Report Card released this week by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) showed the average mathematics scores for 8th graders and 4th graders in Texas public schools were higher than the national average, though scores in reading still continue to lag behind the national average.
Texas ranks in the bottom third of states in the share of its needy children who attend preschool, according to a national study released Monday. Two-thirds of Texas children from low-income families were not attending a preschool program from 2009-11, the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation said in its “Kids Count” report.
Texas in bottom third on share of kids who attend preschool
Texas has the worst rate in the country of young kids whose parents read to them on a regular basis. It has a high percentage of parents expressing worry about their young children’s speech, comprehension and motor skills development. On that indicator, Texas ranks it a tie for 45th among the states.
A plan is underway to create a three-year high school diploma in Dallas ISD. It would serve two purposes: Students could get a jump-start on their college education and career. And DISD would no longer lose state funding when a student graduates early. The money that would have been received for the fourth year would be transferred to the full-day prekindergarten program.
Americans who passed part, but not all, of the GED test are rushing to finish the high school equivalency exam before a new version rolls out in January and their previous scores are wiped out. About 1 million people could be affected.