House Bill 5 Passed, Keeps Students Focused on Their Futures
Students Working

Students Working 

August 8, 2013 –Governor Perry signed House Bill Five into law in May 2013. Texas students will benefit from less testing and more learning, and educators can provide enriched instruction giving a deeper level of understanding. This new law also saves Texas hundreds of millions of dollars by limiting state-mandated standardized tests, and Texas students can choose high school courses which are relevant and engaging for their future plans.

HB5 allows for a restructuring of high school graduation requirements in Texas including reducing the number of end-of-course exams. The end-of-course exams will be reduced from 15 to five and will no longer make up 15 percent of a student’s overall grade. English I and II, Algebra I, Biology and US History will be the five end-of-course exams which remain in place. The new guidelines associated with HB5 will go into effect for the classes of 2016 and later though there will be instances where the classes of 2014 and 2015 have opportunity to select the new foundation high school program to graduate with.

The flexibility garnered by HB5 in high school curriculum allows students to choose courses based upon their interests and future plans, career training or higher education. The FHSP changes the current 4x4 core subjects plan to create more room for creativity and selection of classes.

The FHSP requires these classes be taken:

  • 4 English (English I, II, and III, and an Advanced English)
  • 3 Math (Algebra I, Geometry, and one of choice)
  • 3 Science (Biology, and two of choice)
  • 3 Social Studies (World Geography or World History, US History, Government and Economics)
  • 1 Physical Education
  • 1 Fine Art
  • 2 Foreign Language (same language)
  • 5 Electives

Encouraging students to think of their futures, FHSP requires every student to select an endorsement in one of five areas of study. Each endorsement requires 26 credits total including a fourth math, fourth science and two additional electives. The endorsement of their choice will more narrowly focus a student’s interests through specialized classes.

“What this will do for students is get them focused on working toward an end goal, something they can shoot for, and along the way, they may realize the endorsement and their chosen career path is a perfect fit, or they may discover early on they need to choose something else,” AACAL Principal Jay Barrett explains.“ The bottom line is they will, of necessity, be future-focused, and this can only be good for students.”

Students may choose from these five endorsements:

  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)
  • Business and Industry
  • Public Services
  • Arts and Humanities
  • Multidisciplinary

The distinguished level of achievement will be earned by students who have completed the FHSP, an endorsement and algebra II. Students who complete all of the requirements for DLA are eligible for college admission under the top 10 percent automatic admission provision.

This school year freshmen can expect to be enrolled in World History and sophomores into US History. There will be some flexibility in which sciences these two grade levels can take this year. Many of the changes established by HB5 will be implemented gradually. You may ask your high school counselors for more information about how FHSP will affect you.

“What students and parents will realize is they will have a career counselor who will be working alongside each student, looking at aptitude tests and interest inventories to help student pick a path which not only appeals to their interests, but will also be something they might and hopefully be a career they enjoy,” Barrett said.

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