The Texas Tribune reports that the Governor has signed HB5, the [in]famous education/graduation reform bill. This, despite some unfounded chatter that he was going to veto the bill. Like very much of the other stuff that comes out of Austin, it turned out to be complete poppycock.
For what it’s worth, Perry had the right to issue a line-item veto–meaning he could strike just one part of the act–but he declined to use it. The entire bill will become effective on September 1st (or sometime around then). Most of the changes actually do not take effect until the start of the 2014-2015 school year, and gosh are there a lot of changes. Last month the Tribune outlined four major bulletpoints on HB5, let us delineate them:
· High school students would take a foundation curriculum of four English credits; three science, social studies and math credits; two foreign language credits; one fine art and one P.E. credit; and five elective credits. They would add a fourth science and math credit when they select one of five diploma “endorsements” in areas including science and technology, business and industry, and the humanities.
· To qualify for automatic college admissions under the top 10 percent rule and state financial aid, students must take four science credits and algebra II must be among their four math credits.
· The state will require five standardized tests in English I, English II, algebra I, biology and U.S. history. School districts will have the option of offering diagnostic exams in algebra II and English III that will not count toward their accountability rating.
· Districts will get an A through F rating; campuses will remain under the existing exemplary, recognized, acceptable and unacceptable labels.
As much as I have had plenty of problems in the past with weakening the Algebra II requirement, I find that the solution reached is sufficient. It is pretty hard to take four years of Math without Algebra II being one of them. Anyways, now all eyes fall on how Perry reacts to SB2, the Charter School bill and Dan Patrick’s other magnum opus this session.