Monday, June 10, 2013

Perry Signs HB 5

Well today Rick Perry signed into law the much anticipated HB 5, a bill that would purportedly decrease the number of required end of course exams needed to graduate from high school from 15 to 5, and decreasing the overall rigor of how much of what a high school student is required to take.
If that were all of it, not much to report. HB 5, however, is a giant grab bag of education issues. Here are but a few
-          Allows electronic transfer of students’ transcripts from one school to another.
-          Limits assistance through a grant for addition to school property to be not more than 200/sq ft. for a science lab or 100/sq ft for renovation of same, and requires school districts demonstrate deficient facilities before additions or renovations may be approved
-          Develop sequences of rigorous career and technology courses for high-demand, high-wage careers.  
-          Provides for a minimum number of times that classrooms may be interrupted for non-academic announcements.
-          Provide for a minimum number of times a student may be taken out of class for remedial lessons.
-          Sets standards of minimum attendance for course credit of 90 percent of total attendance days
-          Provides for apprenticeship programs.
And on and on…
The stuff about decreasing the number of requirements and end of course exams needed doesn’t start until where Sections 14 and onward are emended.
For this, note that the previously adopted 4X4 is defunct. No longer will students be required to take 4 social studies courses, 4 math and 4 science courses.
In short, the grand experiment in increased rigor for Texas high school students is at an end at long last.  
In science, students are no longer required to take physics or chemistry. The only required course is biology. Also required is one “advanced” science course and a course in integrated physics and chemistry (or an additional advance science course).
Bottom line: a science course curriculum that is most likely are again IPC, Biology, and then probably Chemistry.
And an end of course only for biology.
In short, there are lots and lots in this bill and the only part that people care about are the ones that make the headlines. As we go forward it will be interesting to see what else falls out of the wash.
Not surprisingly, “Charter schools” are found throughout the document.  

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