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 subsectionSo 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.