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HB 5 seeks to reform the Texas public education system by allowing more flexibility for the school districts. This legislation gives school districts the ability to determine what percentage of the end-of-course exams factor into the student’s grade. Each school district would no longer be required to have an end-of-course exam account for 15% of the student’s grade in the course. HB 5 streamlines the requirement for the number of end-of-course assessments from 15 to 5.
Current law requires high school students to complete one of three degree programs—minimum, recommended, or advanced. HB 5 changes this, requiring one degree track called the Foundation High School Degree Program. Furthermore, HB 5 creates endorsements that allow a student to specialize in specified topics.
The legislation specifies a grade letter rating system, where the Texas Education Agency (TEA) rates the districts based on letter grades—A, B, C, and F. The legislation also includes future financial solvency in determining a school districts financial viability.
HB 5 permits the oversight and rigor necessary for the state to meet its constitutional requirement in maintaining an efficient public school system along with maintaining basic school accountability systems. The bill also limits government’s scope by allowing local districts to determine the best approach for meeting state requirements and educating their students.
Specifically, by allowing each district to determine if they want their students’ end-of-course assessments to count for 15% or less of the students’ final course grades, and decreasing the number of required exams, the school districts assume the responsibility to determine the teaching and assessment options that work best for their students. By allowing these districts the freedom to address their students’ relevant education needs, districts will have more opportunity to succeed.
The Foundation High School Program and endorsement options provide flexibility for all students by allowing them to specialize in industry specific studies. Also, the school letter grade performance evaluations will maintain the rigor and accountability necessary for quality performance.
In seeking efficiency, value, and success, TPPA recommends that the legislature maximize local control for the school districts to determine the education methods that work best, while still keeping accountability measures in place.
Furthermore, this legislation permits the State Board of Education to determine the requirements for endorsements. To perform this task, they will look for input from local professionals and educators. We recommend that parents be included in providing input as they are the most local level of feedback and will provide perspective that others may not.
Lastly, we advise the legislature to support the changes to the Foundation High School Degree Program and maintain this change for a enough time for school districts to adjust to the new system and for the program to mature enough that it will be possible to determine its success. Legislators should resist the urge to make significant changes now and then judge the results prematurely before there is enough data to correctly assess the program.
HB 5 moves in a more efficient direction, seeking to make the public education system a venue where an education will equip students to learn, develop critical thinking skills, and enable graduates to be college ready. By adjusting the examination requirements, degree plans and course requirements in the current system, HB 5 allows school districts to have more flexibility in reaching their educational objectives since their populations are both diverse and growing rapidly. We support passage of this legislation.
While we are not commenting on all amendments, we recommend that Members VOTE NO on the following amendments. We do not endorse any specific amendments at this time.
Davis, John 830202
Davis, John 830204
Davis, Yvonne 830293
Gonzalez, Mary 830244
Gonzalez, Mary 830245
Rodriguez, Eddie 830217
Rodriguez, Eddie 830220
Patrick, Diane 830165
Herrero, Abel 830305
Herrero, Abel 830306
Turner, Chris 830210