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Governor Signs SB 149 Graduation Committee Bill Into Law

Graduation Cap 05.11.2015 — Gov. Greg Abbott signed SB 149 into law today, making it effective immediately. In a written statement released by his office, the governor said:

“The Class of 2015 is the first graduating class required to pass the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) end-of-course exams in order to graduate. While it is critical that the state appropriately holds public schools and districts accountable for delivering the best possible education, we must protect Texas students from being penalized as a result of evolving testing standards. SB 149 protects students from undue penalization, and guarantees that students who meet specified requirements are able to graduate.”

The law requires districts and open-enrollment charter schools to establish an Individual Graduation Committee for each student who has successfully completed all the SBOE-identified curriculum requirements (or those of the commissioner’s transition plan) to graduate in 2014-15 or 2015-16 (the law expires September 1, 2017) but who has failed up to two STAAR end-of-course exams. The committee, to be established at the end of or after the student’s 11th grade year, will determine whether the student qualifies to graduate.

The committee must include the student’s:

  • principal or principal’s designee
  • teacher of each course for which the student failed an EOC exam
  • department chair or lead teacher supervising the teacher of the course
  • student’s parent, person standing in parental relation, an advocate, or the student, if 18 years old or older or an emancipated minor

The committee must recommend additional requirements the student must meet to be eligible to graduate, including additional remediation, as well as completion of a project related to the subject area of the course(s) for which the student failed the EOC exam(s), or preparation of portfolio work samples in the subject area of the course. The law allows students to submit previously completed coursework to satisfy a recommended requirement.

The committee must also consider the recommendation of the student’s teacher for the course in which the student failed the EOC exam, the student’s grade in the course, the student’s score on the failed EOC exam, the student’s performance on any additional requirements recommended by the committee, the number of hours of remediation the student has attended, the student’s attendance rate, and other factors.

Read the law.