During this year’s legislative session, House Bill 5 was passed almost unanimously, and the purpose was to fit school curriculum to today’s workforce.
The feeling was, that advanced courses like algebra 2 are appropriate for students preparing for college.
But for those that are heading into the job market after high school graduation, a curriculum more tailored to their needs is in order.
The state board of education will begin debate this week, and their draft plan keeps the Algebra 2 requirement for most students.
That has drawn criticism.
“The kicker is,” says State Board member Thomas Ratliff, “should it stay in the curriculum for every kid? Right now today we’ve got an average of about 30% of our kids on something less than the recommended degree plan. So if we start pushing all those kids to take algebra 2, we’re going to put them right back on the dropout path.”
Others like the Superintendent in Houston worry that it is simply watering down the meaning of a high school education.
“What we’re hoping for is that the state board will give us as much local authority as possible,” says Christy Hanson, Chief Curriculum Officer at TISD. “To allow Tyler’s Board of Education to make the decisions that are most appropriate for the students in Tyler. Out curriculum, we intend for it to be rigorous enough that the kids are ready.”
Business groups are split on the issue. The Texas Association of Business actually wants the requirements to be tougher.
“It’s interesting,” Ratliff said. “The business group known as the Texas Association of Business, has Person, the test company, as a member wants all of these things. And the other business groups that don’t have Pearson the testing company as a member, don’t want all of these things.”