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HB 5 Passes the House to Third Reading

Yesterday, Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock laid out the Committee Substitute for HB 5 his omnibus bill covering graduation programs, assessment and accountability. He described the intent of the bill as maintaining rigor, reducing the emphasis on standardized testing, and providing more options for high school students.

The lengthiest debate occurred when Rep. Mark Strama proposed an amendment that would make the distinguished achievement level the default graduation plan (as with the current Recommended Program). Rep. Aycock moved to table the amendment noting that Algebra II is not for every student, and that offering courses that are relevant to a student is what will keep the student in school.

At 6:50 p.m. after nearly nine hours of debate, and the adoption of 67 floor amendments, a record vote was taken. House Bill 5 passed to third reading with 145 ayes, and 2 nays (nays included Rep. Mark Strama and Rep. Naomi Gonzalez).

Amendments that were not adopted or that were clarifying in nature are not included below. Adopted amendments include the following (this section may be expanded after further review of the discussion):

(Aycock) Clarifies that a student may satisfy the distinguished achievement level or another endorsement route with elective credits. Requires districts to offer the courses required for at least one endorsement.  Mandates that the Algebra II and English III EOC exams remain optional, and prevents the scores from being used for state accountability purposes, or as a condition for graduation.  Allows PSAT, and ACT scores to substitute for an EOC score.  Provides that this year’s 9th and 10th graders could opt into the new graduation and testing plan.

(Rodriguez, Eddie) Offers the amendment to address MALC concerns about tracking. Requires a student to select a graduation program by the end of 9th grade and mandates that a parent signature is needed to confirm the choice. Requires a district to publish advantages to earning the distinguished achievement level and in no way to prevent a student from pursuing the distinguished level. Allows a student to make changes to the chosen plan after 9th grade.

(Martinez-Fischer) Requires a school to notify parents in writing when a student makes a change to his or her personal graduation plan.

(Martinez-Fischer) Requires that information be given to parents regarding the benefits of choosing a personal graduation plan that includes the distinguished level of achievement and one or more endorsements, including that these options will allow the student to be considered for the top 10 percent at the campus.

(Bell) Expands CTE certification options.

(Rodriguez, Justin) Requires a district to make an Algebra II course available to students.

(Burnham) Allows labor unions the opportunity to provide input on the development of CTE programs.

(Rodriguez, Eddie and Isaac) Requires each district to partner with an institution of higher education to develop and provide college preparatory courses in English and math to students as needed in the 12th grade. Allows distance learning to satisfy this requirement.

(Patrick) Calls for TEA and the THECB to conduct a college readiness assessment study that will look at substitute instruments that could be used to determine college readiness (HB 5 currently determines readiness through scores on the English III and Algebra II EOC exams).

(Bell) Clarifies that the SBOE determines which courses satisfy advanced CTE credit. 

(Lozano) Requires the SBOE to allow a student to satisfy curriculum requirements with a dual credit course.

(Branch) Requires the SBOE when adopting rules for advanced courses that satisfy the foundation program requirements ensure that the course(s) prepare a student to enter the workforce successfully or to attain postsecondary education without remediation.

(Branch, and Villareal) Establishes a pilot program allowing students that complete any standards certified by an IHE to earn a distinguished level achievement.

(Farney) Allows a student to satisfy the fine arts credit through a community-based fine arts program.

(Branch) Requires students seeking any endorsement option to take an additional advanced level math course (increases total math credits needed to four credits).

(Rodriguez, Justin) Requires districts to report the endorsements they offer and that students are seeking.

(Button) Adds the Technology Applications course to the applied STEM course selection.

(Strama/Huberty) Release STAAR tests in 2014–15 and 2015–16.

(Simmons) Requires TEA commissioner to determine appropriate assessments for students receiving special education services, including assessments that measure growth and to the extent possible provide a district with options.

(Turner, Chris and Ratliffe) Allows TEA to redevelop assessment items to administer to students with significant cognitive disabilities in accordance with federal law.

(Strama) Moves the May EOC test administration to the last week in May. Splits English II writing and reading tests so that the writing EOC can be given earlier in the year to allow time for scoring the composition. Requires TEA to get scores back to districts within 21 days of test administration. (Rep. Aycock accepts the amendment subject to conference committee and determination of whether it is feasible to get test scores back within the time allotted.)

(Gonzalez, Mary) Requires a student to be in a U.S. school for 60 consecutive days before being considered officially enrolled.

(Gonzales, Larry) Adds additional indicators to state’s base accountability system including percentage of students earning distinguished performance level and endorsements.

(Capriglione) Prevents hold harmless for growth indicators – can’t penalize high achievers who don’t show growth.

(Harper Brown) Mandates that a student can only be counted once as a dropout.

(Rodriguez, Eddie) Adds to student achievement percentage of students who satisfy the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) college readiness benchmarks, and the percentage of students who earn a specific number of postsecondary credit hours, associate’s degree, or industry certification.

(Villalba) Adds “D” back to the proposed accountability rating system, which would consist of A, B, C, D, and F ratings.

(Menendez) After receiving test results a district must disclose to each district teacher the results of the EOCs for the students taught by the teacher in the subject area for the school year in which the test was administered.

(Huberty) Provides that under the community and student engagement rating, districts make decisions regarding overall performance and individual evaluation factors.

(Button) Adds the digital learning environment to the list of indicators under the community and student engagement rating.

(Farias) Adds dropout strategies to the list of indicators under the community and student engagement rating.

(Cortez) Adds programs for gifted and talented to the list of indicators under the community and student engagement rating.

(Walle) Requires the commissioner to authorize a special accreditation investigation if a disproportionate number of students of a particular race or economic subpopulation are graduating under a particular category of endorsement.

(Capriglione) Adds requirement that the TEA commissioner by rule must adopt an indicator to the financial accountability system that recognizes a campus or district for publishing its check register online. Mandates that a district or campus that updates the online check register posting at least once a month receive a higher rating than one that is updated less often.

(Allen) Clarifies that any reference to the term “teacher” under the financial accountability indicators is referring to the classroom teacher.

(Farias) Specifies areas considered a “financial weakness” under the FIRST rating system might include transportation, curriculum, or teacher development.

(Bell) adds to academic distinction designations for districts and campuses students who: earn recognized business or industry licensures or certifications; complete coherent sequence of CTE courses; complete a dual credit course or articulated postsecondary course for local credit; receive college readiness benchmarks or the equivalent on the PSAT, SAT, ACT, or the ACT-Plan program, and; receive a score on an AP or IB test that earns college credit.

(Walle) Adds to indicators required for reporting purposes the number of students on each campus, disaggregated by major student subpopulations, that graduate under the foundation program, the distinguished level of achievement, and with each category of endorsement options.

(Allen) Requires each district to report at the end of the school year to PEIMS the number of students that enrolled under the foundation program, pursued the distinguished level of achievement, and enrolled in a program to earn an endorsement. Mandates that the data be disaggregated by all student groups.

(Branch) Requires the TEA commissioner to consider options for Texas to join a consortium of states that are developing rigorous sequences of CTE courses.

(Farrar) Adds examples of community and parental involvement under the community and student engagement rating to include opportunities for parents to assist student in preparing for state-required tests, tutoring programs that help prepare students for state-required tests, and opportunities for student to participate in community service.
(Davis, John) Requires the school board to adopt and strictly enforce a limit to student removal for remediation or test preparation to no more than 10% of the school days the class is offered. Requires parental consent if the student is to miss more than 10% of the class for these purposes.

(Farney) Requires the SBOE to ensure that 6 advanced CTE courses are adopted to satisfy a fourth credit of math.

(Dukes) Requires TEA to post a survey for high school students with questions inquiring about the student’s race, ethnicity, bilingual status, graduation plan, endorsement earned, post secondary plans, etc.

(Davis, John) Requires state to pay for testing for manufacturing exams for students receiving special education services.

(Villarreal) Defines benchmarking and limits a district from administering more than two benchmark assessments for each state required assessment.

(Deshotel) Prevents testing contractor from serving on a TEA advisory committee or contributing to an SBOE campaign. Categorizes an offense under this section as a Class B Misdemeanor.

(Turner, Chris) Prohibits TEA commissioner from assigning a person associated with the state testing contract from serving on a TEA advisory committee.

(Gonzales, Larry) Requires a district that takes prescribed action during an accreditation investigation, to make a reasonable effort in seeking assistance from a third party in developing an action plan to improve district performance.

(Burnham, Strama, Walle) Requires that a district notify every student and parent of the foundation and distinguished level of achievement requirements. 

(Lucio) Relating to language requirements for districts providing information to parents about graduation requirement options.