Standardized testing and curriculum requirements are always a hot button issue, especially in Texas. In the spring of 2012, Texas made the switch from the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test to the State of Texas Assessments of Academic readiness, and now the state has made another change. House Bill 5 has lowered the number or STAAR test from 15, to just five, a major change from the overload of tests students were experiencing before HB 5.
Aside from dropping the number of STARR tests, HB 5 is making huge changes to graduation requirements. Students will now have more flexibility when it comes to their graduation plan, but is the change for the best. Students will still be required to have four English credits; however, students will now only be required to have three credits in science, math, and social studies. Students in Texas schools will now be taking more classes that prepare them for a future career, at the expense of cutting out crucial classes such as World Geography or World History.
All in all, House Bill 5 is definitely shaking up public education in Texas, and it is clear that students are being nudged towards taking courses that promote future career plans. Instead of the old “reading, writing, and arithmetic”, students are now going to be focusing more on elective-type courses that prepare them to enter certain career fields in the future (i.e. law enforcement or engineering), but the students are losing the valuable information that comes with the core classes. For more information, visit the Texas Education Agency (TEA) website http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=25769806149