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New graduation plan set to pass this month for Texas high school students

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Education is constantly changing. With the arrival and exit of each president and the development of new government regulations, changes occur that can be felt all the way into the classroom. In Texas the Texas Education Agency, or more widely known as TEA, is the branch of the state government in charge of public education. Recently TEA has been deciding on a bill that would alter the requirements for high school graduation.

On Wednesday January 29th at 9AM TEA will have the second reading and potentially pass house bill 5 (HB5). The bill would pass new graduation requirements moving away from the 4x4 plan to a 22-credit Foundation High School program.

Currently there are three plans high school students may choose from, the distinguished, the recommended and the minimum plan. If HB5 passes it will offer a foundation plan, which will require 22-credits, and a distinguished plan which is a 26-credit plan.

This new program will offer less rigorous requirements including the exclusion of English IV and replacing it with upper division English options that would be developed locally. The new guidelines allow for more room for the academy style high schools that are becoming popular where students will begin focusing on specific career paths while still in high school. The hope is that with the personalized education plan students will be more invested in their public education experience resulting in lower drop out rates.

The new plans will include endorsements that will emphasize specific paths such as the business industry endorsement, the public service endorsement, and the arts and humanities endorsement. Graduation plans that fall in the middle of these two plans will vary from district to district. Proposed examples of these plans can found at many districts across Texas already. Fort Bend ISD and Lewisville ISD are just a few examples.

According to TEA SBOA Decision Points the advanced courses will prepare the students for either the workforce or a postsecondary education without remediation.

The plan has already passed a public hearing, discussion of rules, first reading, and a public a comment period. The plan is expected to pass during this January reading and will be implemented as a new graduation option for the 2014-2015 school year.



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