03.05.2015 — On March 3, the Senate Education Committee unanimously approved a substitute bill for Sen. Kel Seliger’s SB 149.
The current version allows students who failed up to two EOCs to receive their diplomas with the unanimous approval of an individual graduation committee composed of teachers, counselors, administrators, and parents. An earlier version of the bill would have allowed students who failed all five EOC exams to graduate with committee approval.
A requirement that students maintain a 2.0 GPA was removed, but the current bill still requires students to pass all of their classes. The new version also requires, rather than allows, the graduation committee to assign a project or portfolio of work as a demonstration of proficiency in the subject area in which the student failed the EOC.
An expiration date of September 1, 2017, was added to make it easier for the legislation to be reversed if it does not function as intended. This change was in response to some committee members’ concerns that the number of students who fail EOCs might increase dramatically due to some students not taking the tests seriously because they know they can appeal to graduation committees.
Language was also added to ensure the bill would apply to charter schools as well as traditional public schools.
SB 149 will now go to the full Senate. TASA encourages all members to contact their senators in support of this bill.