The Texas Senate Education Committee decided unanimously today, voting 7-0 on a bill that would overhaul the current requirements for a high school diploma to better emphasize workforce development. The idea is to prepare students who want to focus more on vocational and career training rather than college readiness.
Committee chairman Dan Patrick's Senate Bill 3 would end the requirement that all Texas high school students need to take four years each of English, Math, Social Studies and Science. If passed, the bill will enable students to choose any of the three specially endorsed diplomas: Business and Industry, Arts and Humanities or Science and Math. This would open career and technical education courses that align with the four content areas and allow students to get trained for their futures.
Critics of the bill say changing high school graduation requirements isn't the solution. Our Facebook post got a lot of controversial feedback, with some saying vocation training programs are good to have but not at the expense of basic education. They felt students needed mastery in the core classes in order to be a functional society.
Kelly Trlica, Chief Academic Officer for Lubbock ISD says this is great news and it allows more flexibility to students. Although 9th graders would be required to choose an endorsement, Trlica advises that they will be well-trained and educated to do so.
"What we want to continue to do is to better train our 8th and 9th graders about those endorsements and about the electives that are offered so that they will make good decisions."
Now the bill moves to the Senate. If it passes there it will move on to the House Committee and lastly, the House floor.
Though the bill still has some hurdles to go through, if it succeeds, Trlica says LISD could implement the changes as early as the next academic school year.
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