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Changes Icoming in graduation requirements

The Free Press of Buda, Texas

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Substantial changes to Texas' high school graduation requirements would modify the current four by four (4x4) plan to a 22-credit Foundation High School Program.

Under House Bill 5 (HB5), passed by the Texas Legislature this spring, the new plan allows students to earn endorsements in specific areas of study by completing four additional credits. Those endorsement areas are science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), business and industry, public services, arts and humanities, and multidisciplinary studies.

At issue is whether to require Algebra II for graduation.

Following testimony from 67 witnesses, along with many letters and emails for and against requiring Algebra II, the State Board of Education voted in November to eliminate Algebra II as a specific requirement for all but the STEM endorsement.

The public comment period took place during December. The board is expected to have a final vote on the changes during its Jan. 29-31 meeting at the Travis State Office Building at 1701 N. Congress Ave. in Austin.

However, students who hope to be ranked in the top 10 percent of their graduating class and qualify for automatic admission into a Texas public university, must earn a distinguished level of achievement, according to the new law. The distinguished level of achievement requires students to take a total of four credits of math, including Algebra II, a total of four credits of science, and complete the requirements for at least one endorsement.

With many details about program yet to be decided, the new graduation plan will not be in effect for the 2013-2014 school year.

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Original Publication Date: January 1, 2014

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