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Texas Legislative Update: 2013 school year

September 20, 2013

This information was provided by TAGT. Have you joined TAGT yet? TAGT is an amazing organization that supports and advocates for gifted education at the state level. Click here to join TAGT and save with our special CGA/TAGT membership bundle. Or click here for more information on TAGT and to read the full post that is summarized below.

TAGT SUMMARY OF 2013 LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY

The Texas Association for the Gifted & Talented (TAGT) connects and empowers educators and parents to meet the unique needs of gifted and talented learners through awareness, advocacy and action. The 2013 Legislative session contained positive news for gifted education; with the passage of House Bill 5 (HB 5) and its subsequent signing into law, the promise of accountability for gifted education has been rekindled (see below for more details on what HB 5 means for gifted education). TAGT played a significant role in ensuring that gifted and talented language was included in HB 5 and is grateful to Representative Phillip Cortez of San Antonio, who was the primary force behind this inclusion. TAGT was ably represented at the Capitol by Policy Consultant Marty De Leon; his efforts were most helpful in securing passage of HB 5, and in keeping gifted education on the minds of legislators.

LEGISLATION THAT MAY IMPACT G/T COMMUNITY

FUNDING

Senate Bill 1:

  • Restored $3.4 billion to public education for 2014-2015
  • Texas Performance Standards Project received $437,500 for 2014 and $437,500 for 2015
  • Mathcounts received $200,000 for 2014 and $200,000 for 2015
  • Academic Decathlon received $200,000 for 2014 and $200,000 for 2015
  • Advanced Placement Initiative received $8,150,000 for 2014 and $8,150,000 for 2015
  • Texas Virtual Network received $4,000,000 for 2014 and $4,000,000 for 2015

ACCOUNTABILITY

House Bill 5:

  • Allows local communities to engage in the accountability process by requiring districts to set goals and evaluate the performance of G/T programs (see above for more detailed explanation of HB 5 and gifted accountability)

CURRICULUM/COURSEWORK

House Bill 5:

  • Creates one diploma that affords all students a variety of post-secondary opportunities
  • Students may earn an additional endorsement in one of four areas to develop their talents and pursue their interests: STEM, Business and Industry, Public Services, and Arts and Humanities
  • Greatly expands course options and allows individual students more flexibility
  • Eliminates the requirement that all students must pass Algebra II and English/Language Arts III to receive a high school diploma
  • Allows all high school graduates to be eligible for automatic admission to public four-year Texas universities because all students graduate under the same diploma

ASSESSMENT

House Bill 5:

  • Reduces the number of end-of-course assessments from fifteen to five
  • Allows students to meet their graduation assessment requirement by passing English/Language Arts II (reading and writing), Algebra I, Biology, and US History
  • Eliminates the requirement that the end-of-course assessments determine fifteen percent of a student’s course grade
  • Establishes clear graduation requirements for students and parents by eliminating the cumulative score requirement
  • Encourages college readiness by allowing satisfactory performance on Advanced Placement exams, SAT exams, and the ACT to satisfy graduation requirements

House Bill 866:

  • Allows high performing students in grades 3-8 to not have to be tested every year in reading, math, science, and social studies. NOTE: The US Gov’t has declared that they will not give this waiver, which means it will not go into effect.  (http://www.tea.state.tx.us/news_release.aspx?id=25769807258)

House Bill 2694:

  • 90% attendance rule does not apply to a student who earns credit by exam for acceleration
  • Requires ISDs to approve the exams available for credit by exam for acceleration in primary grades and each secondary academic subject
  • To the extent available, the board must approve at least four exams in each subject for credit by exam. Options must include AP/CLEP exams
  • An elementary student may be allowed to skip a grade if he/she earns a score of 80% (not 90%) or above on an approved exam for acceleration
  • 6th graders and above must be given credit if the student earns a score of 80% (not 90%) or above on an approved exam or, before the beginning of the year in which the student would normally enroll in a course, the student scores a 3 or higher on the applicable AP test or a scaled score of 60 or higher on the CLEP test
  • If a student is awarded credit by exam, the district must list the exam score on the student’s transcript, and the student will not be required to take the end-of-course exam for that subject
  • Districts must administer the test not less than four times a year at a schedule approved by the State Board of Education, unless the exam is administered by an entity other than a district
  • A student may not attempt the credit by the exam more than twice in the same subject
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