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School board decision will affect next year

Sept. 21, 2013 at 4:21 a.m.


The following column is a reprint of a blog posted on the Raise Your Hand Texas website.

Parents of high school students, school board trustees, superintendents and students should pay close attention to the agenda for last week's State Board of Education (SBOE) meeting Sept. 17, which included hearings on implementing the new foundation high school graduation requirements created by House Bill 5 (2013).

HB 5 by Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock created the foundation diploma plan, which sets certain graduation standards while allowing students the flexibility to pursue endorsements in: business and industry; science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); public service; arts and humanities; and multidisciplinary studies. By removing the restrictive 4x4 curriculum and one-size-fits-all path to graduation, HB 5 provides flexibility with graduation requirements.

This week, the SBOE will be making key decisions on the rules for the new foundation graduation requirements, including determining which courses will be included. The decisions of the SBOE in interpreting HB 5 and creating rules for implementing the new plan directly impact students' futures and your local school district's budget.

Any delay in the rule-making by the SBOE could impact the 2014-15 school year, as students and districts await guidelines for planning schedules and determining staffing and resources.

This week's agenda is a strong reminder of how events at the SBOE level affect all Texas public school students and shape local school district policy. The SBOE plays an important role but goes largely unnoticed by the general public. I find that most people can name at least one of their local school board members, but very few people can name their SBOE representative. And even fewer people have a good understanding of what their SBOE representative does. With open seats in seven SBOE districts for the 2014 ballot, it is critical that you find out who your SBOE representative is and learn more about their duties today.

Tami Keeling is the President of the Victoria ISD Board of Trustees and is a RYHT Community Ambassador. To contact Tami regarding outreach opportunities in the Victoria region, email her at tkeeling@raiseyourhandtexas.org or send her a message at Twitter @TamiKeeling.

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