Graduation Requirements Changing for Texas Students 1/21/14
CBS 7 News Reporter
January 21, 2014
A new Texas law is bringing some big changes to your child's education, including graduation requirements.
The new graduation plans are similar to college plans; two years focused on "the basics" and the last two focused on your interests.
Ask a student about their future and you may get this response, "I have no idea...I haven't thought about it," Midland High Sophomore Mireya Mendez said.
A new law is geared to get students thinking like this, "I'm going to keep studying. I'd like to get into architectural design," Midland High senior Elias Sanchez said.
"The Texas Legislature really hit a home run with this one," Midland ISD Superintendent Dr. Ryder Warren said. "We're moving away from this one box, one size fits all for our children to a more individualized system."
All Texas schools are moving from three different graduation plans to one plan; they call it the Foundation Program. Under the new program, all students are still required to take basic courses. In addition, they can now earn one of five different endorsements.
"There were very few electives out there that you could take. This will open it up to kids, parents, care takers to really say, 'ok here's my kids gifts, here's what they're interested in, lets explore what we can do,'" Dr. Warren said.
The thought behind the new requirements are to get students to think of life after high school and focus on their future.
"It makes it a lot easier because you can try it out earlier and if you don't like it, then you don't waste time in college," Mendez said.
"You should start thinking about the future now," Sanchez said.
No matter what the future holds for students, Midland ISD wants to ensure they're ready.
"We're just pushing the kids to whatever their next level is," Dr. Warren said.
According to the TEA website, the Foundation Program will go into affect next school year.
Midland – Graduation requirements are changing for Texas students, thanks to Texas House Bill 5.
Before HB5, Texas students could graduate on one of three different plans – Minimum, Recommended, or Distinguished Achievement. The state tried to negate any students choosing the Minimum plan, so most of the kids were on Recommended or Distinguished Achievement. At that time, the basic assumption of our state was that every child was going to college, and the courses they were required to take in high school were for college bound students, and many of our more career-focused courses suffered, because our students did not have room in their schedules for these classes.
During this last legislative session, the legislators heard from many parents, business leaders, and students regarding the need to individualize graduation plans for our Texas students, and HB5 gives us many more options for our students with different goals for their lives beyond high school.
In Midland, providing our students these options for graduation has become one of the most important challenges we are facing. With the passage of HB5, the three different graduation plans have been removed, and every student will graduate under the “Foundation Program.” The foundation program requires 4 credits of English, 3 credits of math, 3 credits of science, 3 credits of history, 2 credits of a language other than English, 1 credit in fine arts, 1 credit in physical education, and 5 elective credits (22 total credits).
In addition to the foundation program, students can now earn 1 of 5 different graduation “Endorsements” by taking one more course of math, one more course of science, and two more elective credits (for a total of 26). The endorsements include the following programs: (1) STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics; (2) Public Services; (3) Business and Industry; (4) Multidisciplinary Studies; and (5) Arts and Humanities.
Looking at this list of endorsements, as a school district, MISD to offer much more individualized courses that fit our students’ gifts and dreams. There will be many course choices under each of these endorsement categories, so students and parents will be able to truly plan out the student’s degree plan through high school.