New Texas grad requirements one step closer

New Texas grad requirements one step closer

(Texas) – Directed by a vote of the State Board of Education late last month, Texas education officials posted Friday proposed rules governing high school graduation beginning next year.

Although most of the focus has been on the board’s decision not to include Algebra II as a requirement for all students but several other changes are also noteworthy:

  • Speech is no longer mandated although local boards have the option of including it.
  • Districts have also been given control over the sequence of courses for the state’s new “endorsement” system.
  • The board has also clarified that students can earn credits for courses in both the high school and college level if the curriculum meets certain criteria.

Prompted in part by complaints that high schools were spending too much time on standardized testing, lawmakers last summer ordered a rewrite of the rules for graduation and a significant change in focus.

Gone is the traditional, step-by-step system where students progress by accumulating credits in the core subjects. Instead, incoming ninth-graders next fall will select an “endorsement” of one of five categories of study: STEM (science, technology, engineering and math); business and industry; public services; arts and humanities; and a catch-all multidisciplinary category.

Based on the specialization system used in higher education, students will be required to complete four credits each of math and science, two elective credits as well as the curriculum required within the area of specialized study. A total of 26 credits are required under the new program.

The question of whether to require all students to take and pass Algebra II remains a subject of debate among some academics and pundits. But the new rules posted this week suggest the state has made its decision.

Under the new system, Algebra II would only be required of students pursuing the STEM endorsement.

A public comment period is set to open December 20 and would close in conjunction with the next state board meeting, January 29-31.