Friday, March 02, 2007

Shapiro-Eissler Bills Will Require Texas High School Students to Take Physics

I had my first look at Texas State Senator Florence Shapiro’s (R-Plano) and State Rep Rob Eissler’s identical bills, both filed yesterday, on the replacement of 4 TAKS test with 12 End of Course exams. My jaw dropped when I read that one of the required EOCs will be a Physics EOC if the student is enrolled in the Recommended or Distinguished High School Program.

Don’t take my word for it. Here is a link to Eissler’s bill. The text I paste below comes from page 5 to page 6.
(c) The agency shall also adopt end-of-course assessment instruments for secondary-level courses in Algebra I, Algebra II, geometry, biology, chemistry, physics, English I, English II, English III, world geography, world history, and United States history.
And what is the performance requirement, pray tell? From page 9:
A student is required to achieve a cumulative score that is at least equal to the product of the number of end-of-course assessment instruments administered to the student and 70, with each end-of-course assessment instrument scored on a scale of 100. … A student may not receive a high school diploma until the student has performed satisfactorily on the end-of-course assessment instruments in the manner provided under this subsection
So we still can’t graduate until we pass some tests. With TAKS, we’re talking 4 tests. With the new plan, we’re talking 12 – fail any one of them and you don’t walk.

OK, the trade-off is that the students aren’t being tested on a subject that they may have studied a year or two ago, it’s over content that they just covered. There’s something to that and it makes more sense this way. But the stakes are still quite high for these tests.

And if the student is in the Recommended program, they MUST take physics. It’s one of the 12 required EOCs.

This is a far cry from the language you find on the TEA’s website .

Science requirements for the Recommended program are as follows:

- Four courses of Science is required
- One of these must be Biology 1 or Biology AP
-Two additional courses from a choice between Integrated Physics and Chemistry, Chemistry, or Physics
-One course from a wide range of science courses that include such things as Aquatics Science, Earth and Space Science (aka “Rocks for Jocks”) – that is, any other lab science

Eissler’s and Shapiro’s bills take the choice right out of the equation, essentially rewriting §74.63.(b)(3)(A) of the Texas Administrative Code.

Or maybe not. Maybe it’s “sure, kid, you can choose not to take physics, it’s in the TAC, but don’t expect to graduate with the Recommended Program on your diploma.”

I have a little knowledge in this area. High school students avoid physics courses like the plague. Many of them rightfully so. Physics is a demanding subject that practically requires people to have a visual – spatial learning style. I’ll bet that the majority of House and Senate members have never taken a course in physics, or if they did, it was a negative experience for them.

And I’ll make this one last point and shut up.

Most students taking physics in high school take it as a 4th year science course. They want that “Texas Scholar” embossment on their diplomas. Some students enroll in the course not knowing that they will be struggling all year to keep a passing grade. Imagine a senior taking physics in this scenario and finding that he/she cannot pass the physics EOC no matter how hard they try. Oh, sure, they get to graduate, but only in the Texas Minimum High School program.

So if the Shapiro-Eissler bills were meant to increase enrollment in the Minimum High School program, then they will surely do their jobs, sure as the sun will rise tomorrow.


Kimberly said...

Hello. The 4x4 plan -- math and science -- has been in place since the last SBOE meeting. If you want regular updates, you can reach me at I have a list for stuff like this. Kimberly

Jaime Kenedeño said...

Hal: "Eissler’s and Shapiro’s bills take the choice right out of the equation, essentially rewriting §74.63.(b)(3)(A) of the Texas Administrative Code."

I think maybe Shapiro and Eissler are not in tune with the real world. In fact it appears they have been with their head somewhere else for quite some time now. There are some good intentions and the results frequently dont pan out according to theoretical yield per lab performance or expectations per legislation. Specifically, I have requested these two committees address legislation resulting in unexpected results.

Here is one of the letters.

Dear Texas Public Education Committee Chairman: the Honorable Rob Eissler,
Posted on February 18, 2007 at 00:50:12 AM by Jaime Kenedeno

Saturday, February 17, 2007
When a minor is allowed to run at large during the school day hours, It is irresponsible of the caretaker whose custody in which a child is placed

I am speaking to the distinguished Gentleman from Montgomery County,

The Honorable Rob Eissler,

It is expected, we demand it and we are very angry. We are Angry Parents and Children allover the Great State of Texas. We will bring Texas to your front porch should the ignorance continue. Start paying attention to the people, the families who are enduring the legislation mistakes created no doubt in good faith but have gone awry. Ask the South Texas Delegation about South Texas and they will tell you dont mess with South Texas and dont go against Los Kenedenos when they know and believe they are right and just in a cause. This is one of those causes. I promise.

Education is for our Children, our Youth, our Future. Children and Youth need constant redirection and set boundaries at home and at school as well. When a minor is allowed to run at large during the school day hours whether it is in the halls, leaving or returning a closed campus or simply unaccounted for is irresponsible of the caretaker whose custody in which he / she is placed. it is of the most primary of concerns to find out where the hell he is and where the hell he was and as a Principal / Educator it is happening on his watch. Fining parents who require their children to attend school is unjust and destructive; as they ENTRUST their children's direction well being and safety to the custody of a School Campus Administration.

Jaime Kenedeño said...

republic of texas: DEAR PUBLIC POLICY MAKERS, JP COURTS HAVE GROWN WAY TOO BIG FOR THEIR BRITCHES: "Dear State Representative Solomon P Ortiz Jr.,

As South Texas and HD #33 remain in anticipation of your response to the email communication regarding Texas Education Code 25.093 specifically and the Texas Education Code 25, another issue has been brought to my attention regarding the JP Courts Jurisdiction in Criminal Proceedings that are punishable by fine only

This is the preface of the JP Court illustrated below in the image entitled Court Structure of Texas according to The Official Website of Texas Courts

And also according to the The Handbook of Texas Online

Justice of the Peace Courts have jurisdiction over criminal offenses that are
punishable by fine only, and over civil cases in which the amount in
controversy is small (not more than $5,000 in 1995).





(c) An indigent defendant is entitled to have an attorney
appointed to represent him in any adversary judicial proceeding
that may result in punishment by confinement and in any other
criminal proceeding if the court concludes that the interests of
justice require representation. Except as otherwise provided by
this subsection, if an indigent defendant is entitled to and
requests appointed counsel and if adversarial judicial proceedings
have been initiated against the defendant, a court or the courts'
designee authorized under Article 26.04 to appoint counsel for
indigent defendants in the county shall appoint counsel as soon as
possible, but not later than the end of the third working day after
the date on which the court or the courts' designee receives the
defendant's request for appointment of counsel. In a county with a
population of 250,000 or more, the court or the courts' designee
shall appoint counsel as required by this subsection as soon as
possible, but not later than the end of the first working day after
the date on which the court or the courts' designee receives the
defendant's request for appointment of counsel.

Please note the limitation operatives under Art. 4.11

"not consisting of confinement or imprisonment"


"do not include confinement"



Art. 4.11. [60] [106] [96] JURISDICTION OF JUSTICE
COURTS. (a) Justices of the peace shall have original jurisdiction
in criminal cases:
(1) punishable by fine only or punishable by:
(A) a fine; and
(B) as authorized by statute, a sanction not consisting of
confinement or imprisonment; or
(2) arising under Chapter 106, Alcoholic Beverage Code,
that do not include confinement as an authorized sanction.
(b) The fact that a conviction in a justice court has as a
consequence the imposition of a penalty or sanction by an agency or
entity other than the court, such as a denial, suspension, or
revocation of a privilege, does not affect the original
jurisdiction of the justice court.

Acts 1965, 59th Leg., vol. 2, p. 317, ch. 722, eff. Jan. 1, 1966.
Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 108, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1,
1991; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 449, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995;
1997, 75th Leg., ch. 533, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997,
75th Leg., ch. 1013, Sec. 38, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

However, the Justice Courts are punishing by confinement.

The Justice Courts are not appointing Attorneys for indigent defendants involved in adversarial judicial proceedings that are resulting in punishment by confinement.

In Nueces County, the Justice of the Peace Judges are not licensed

attorneys nor is the Justice Court a Court of Record Court.

A Court of Record is defined as:

# A court in which the proceedings are recorded, transcribed, and maintained as permanent records.

# A court whose acts and proceedings are recorded and preserved.
# In common law jurisdictions, a court of record is a court that keeps permanent records of its proceedings. Judgments of a trial court of record are normally subject to appellate review. In many jurisdictions, all courts are courts of record. In many jurisdictions, courts that have the power to fine or imprison must be courts of record.

There is no recourse.

There is no accountability.

One other issue is the counting of a certain number of tardies as an absence and the absence is counted towards a truancy absence. There is not a provision for this illegal manipulation so as to prosecute. This prosecution under 25.093 and 25.094 can be easily proven if necessary.

To quote a Nueces County District Judge, "Justice Delayed is Justice Denied" as our HD #33 Representative we ask for emergency intervention and reform of this bad law. This is an appeal to you from South Texas. Do we really need to collect letters and signatures for our South Texas Delegation to take immediate action?


Anton S Haley

Anonymous said...

I think if you reread page 9 of the Shapiro bill (as numbered if you click on the link), you have misinterpreted what it says. If the student needs a cumulative score on their 12 end-of-course tests equal to 12 tests X 70, then it means that it is more lenient than you think. ie - history and english scores are typically high, and would offset a less than 70 score in math or science; as long as the average score is at least 70, then the student would earn the diploma.

Hal said...

Yeah, that's what I thought so also. But the language of the bill convinced me that they meant that students must master every aspect of the courses they take with a score of 70. You can't make a 68 in physics offset a 72 in Spanish. That is my reading of it.