The best run down of what happened on Tuesday when the Texas House debated HB 5 come from Kuff, House passes major changes to testing and graduation requirements. (Be sure and read the post it has many links).
Like I said, I’m still thinking about all this. To say the least, it’s a big and complicated subject, and I don’t claim any particular expertise. I am certain that there will be differences with the Senate bill, and there will be much horse-trading in conference committee. Reducing the number of exams, and aligning them with college admissions makes sense to me. Providing viable alternate paths to high school graduation that prepare kids for a professional career and aren’t viewed as lesser achievements is a good idea, too. I feel confident that whatever we do this session, we’ll be revisiting it next session, and likely again after that.
From Burka it seems to be that this is a fight between two (monied) factions.
There are two competing visions of the future of public education in Texas at stake in the debate over HB 5, which begins this morning on the House floor. One side is a group of industries calling themselves Jobs for Texas. Foremost among this group is the Texas Association of Manufacturers. The other side is Pearson, the testing company, and the Texas Association of Business and Chambers of Commerce, led by Bill Hammond.
And, as Diane Ravitch points out, the teachers are who will have to deal with the consequences, How Texas Legislators Debated Graduation Requirements.
I couldn’t help but think back to my own experience in Texas public schools many years ago (to be exact, I graduated from San Jacinto High School in 1956). To the best of my knowledge, the Legislature set minimum requirements and left the details to educators.
These days, legislators in Congress and the states seem to think they must decide everything in education and tell educators what to do. When I was in North Carolina last week, the dean of the UNC education school told me that the legislature passed laws requiring that students learn cursive writing and memorize the multiplication tables.
It is a good thing the legislators are not telling doctors how to make their diagnoses and conduct surgical procedures.
This is nowhere near over, and there was no discussion of poverty, hunger, and making sure students are showing up ready to learn.