orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

March 28, 2013

Texas House passes school reform bill

Gabriel Pruett
The Orange Leader

BRIDGE CITY — House Bill 5 has passed through the Texas House of Representatives.

HB 5 eliminates 10 end-of-course (EOC) exams which several local school superintendents was eager to get rid of for quite a while now.

The bill drops the number down to five from 15.

“House Bill 5 is an excellent piece of legislation,” BCISD Superintendent Mike King said. “This gives public education the opportunity to not be test driven. Districts are not afraid of accountability. We just want a more meaningful accountability system and not one that is test driven.”

The bill, which is still not passed as law, eliminates the requirement that students earn a certain cumulative score on their EOC exams in order to graduate. It eliminates the requirement that EOCs count for 15% of  a student’s final course grade.

King reported Wednesday the Texas Senate was discussing a similar bill on Wednesday.

Rep. Joe Deshotel (D-Beaumont) was a co-author on the bill and was excited it passed through the house.

“This bipartisan bill goes a long way to address the concerns of parents, students and educators that our current assessment and accountability system is broken and does not allow students adequate flexibility or ensure career readiness,” Deshotel said in a press release.

King said Deshotel had an amendment in the bill that protects the school system from being influenced by special interests groups.

The bill also creates one diploma which allows all students a variety of postsecondary opportunities. Students would be able to earn additional endorsements in STEM, business and industry, public services, arts and humanities and multidisciplinary studies.

Chairman Jimmie Don Aycock is credited with the overhaul and asked members of the House four questions when introducing the legislation:

1. Are we over-testing our students?

2. Is it ok for a child to find a path outside a four-year degree?

3. Does every student in every situation need to take Algreba II?

4. Do you think our accountability system should be based on more than testing?