Texas’ New Graduation Plan

by Donna Garner –

*I believe the following comments are accurate; however, I have included the Texas Education Agency (TEA) links to help people to verify the information for themselves.

This is an important TEA update (May 31, 2012 press release to school administrators posted further on down the page) because it delineates what the new Texas public school graduation requirements are that affect this school year’s 9th graders (2011-12) on down.

Besides the new details fleshed out in the following Texas State Board of Education decisions, there is also a link to the new graduation requirements themselves – found at:  http://www.tea.state.tx.us/graduation.aspx

Texas High School Graduation Requirements

http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter074/ch074g.html

*Recommended High School Program

Subject                                             Credits

English (ELAR)                               4

Math                                                 4

Science                                             4

Social Studies                                   4

Foreign Languages                          2

Physical Ed. or ROTC                     1

Speech                                              ½

Fine Arts                                          1

Electives                                           5 ½

Total                                               26 Credits

*Most frequently chosen plan

The Recommended High School Program is the most frequently chosen plan.  If a high school offers 7 classes per day, that produces a total of 28 credits in four years (7 x 4 = 28 credits).  Because only 26 credits are required in the Recommended Plan, 2 credits are extra.  Of those 26 credits, 5 ½ may be electives; therefore, in a 7-period per day high school, students could choose 7 ½ credits of electives (5 ½ + 2 = 7 ½) during the four years of high school.

This Recommended graduation plan gives Texas high school students many opportunities (7 ½ credits of self-chosen electives) to investigate various career, technology, fine arts, business, and other courses to see if the students have an interest in them.

Many states have bought into the two-track system where part of the high school student body receives a college-preparatory education and the other part of the student body receives vocational training with limited in-depth study of the great books and ideas of the world. (Obama’s Common Core Standards follow the two-track plan.)

In Texas, however, under the new Recommended Graduation Plan, all high-school students will graduate with a basic core foundation of knowledge and skills that will prepare them to be well-educated citizens and voters of tomorrow; but they will still have time during the school day to delve into the particular elective fields that interest them.

Not only does Texas have the best graduation requirement plan which will turn out well-educated future citizens, but we also have the most fact-based, academic curriculum standards (TEKS) in the whole United States.

Under the leadership of the conservatives on the Texas State Board of Education, new-and-improved curriculum standards (TEKS) have been passed in the four core subjects — English/Language Arts/Reading/, Science, Social Studies, and Math. Those have become the foundation for the new STAAR/End-of-Course tests in high school and the STAAR tests in Grades 8 on down. A new accountability system built upon the new curriculum standards, tests, and other measures will be released soon.

Together with the new Recommended Graduation Plan, the new TEKS, and the new tests, Texas’ public schools are on the way to authentic education reform.  Since all students will be graduating with a broad-based background of core knowledge and skills, our Texas graduates will be able to make choices among college and/or career opportunities. If their chosen vocation suddenly collapses in a changing and uncertain economy, our Texas students will be well educated enough to move into other vocations.

This monumental shift from Type #2 to Type #1 Philosophy of Education is explained further in my 5.30.12 article entitled “The Gathering Storm in Education” posted at:  http://libertylinked.com/posts/9892/the-gathering-storm-in/View.aspx

Donna Garner

Wgarner1@hot.rr.com

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Texas also has two alternative plans from which students may choose:

Minimum High School Program

 

 

Subject                                             Credits

 

English (ELAR)                               4

Math                                                 3

Science                                              2

Social Studies                                   3

Academic Elective                            1

Physical Ed. or ROTC                    1

Speech                                              ½

Fine Arts                                          1

Electives                                           6 ½

Total                                               22 Credits

 

 

Distinguished Achievement H.S. Program (Advanced H.S.)

 

 

Course                                              Credits

 

English (ELAR)                                4

Math                                                 4

Science                                              4

Social Studies                                   4

Foreign Languages                          3

Physical Ed. or ROTC                     1

Speech                                              ½

Fine Arts                                          1

Electives                                           4 ½

Total                                               26 Credits

 

 

 

 

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To read the May 31, 2012, report from the Texas Education Agency entitled “Graduation Requirements, Beginning with School Year 2012-2013, please go to:  http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index4.aspx?id=2147506946

 

Jimmy Kilpatrick, a national recognized professional special education advocate since 1994.

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