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What Does House Bill 5 Mean For the Future of Texas High Schools?

Nathan Bernier/KUT News

Texas high schools are preparing for major changes to graduation requirements. Under a new law, schools will have less standardized testing. But when it comes to implementing the new legislation, many questions are yet to be answered. 

The State Board of Educationhashed out the details today of how to enforce the new high school graduation requirements that go into effect in the 2014-15 school year. Monica Martinez, managing director of curriculum for the Texas Education Agency, noted the challenges of implementing standards consistently statewide. 

"What if I’m enrolled in a course and it’s helping me to satisfy a science credit, and my mom gets a job and we move to another part of the state, and that’s not an option to me where I move?"  Martinez asked.

Board members emphasized preparing students on equal footings, whether they choose to pursue higher education or enter the workforce after high school. 

Students will still need four English credits in order to graduate. But the requirement for science, math and social studies has dropped to three credits, giving students more flexibility in elective coursework. The updated plan includes endorsements students can earn in specific subjects including business and industry, humanities, science and technology.

The law also reduces the number of standardized exams, STAAR tests, that high school students must pass in order to graduate from 15 to five. 

Syeda Hasan is a senior editor at KUT. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @syedareports.
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