State Board of Education limits Algebra 2

REPRINT: By Kate Alexander
American-Statesman Staff

Only high school students focusing on science, math and engineering would be required to take advanced algebra under a preliminary compromise made by the State Board of Education on Thursday. The board members backed off an initial proposal to mandate Algebra 2 for almost all Texas high school students on a vote of 14 to 1. Democrat Martha Dominguez of El Paso was the sole nay vote.

The Algebra 2 requirement was supposed to be the most contentious issue facing the board members as they slogged through the rules to implement a new law aimed at giving high school students, particularly those not headed to college, more flexibility in their course load.

In House Bill 5, the Legislature voted unanimously to replace the prescriptive 4x4 graduation plan — four years each of math, science, English and social studies — with several new specialized pathways to graduation called endorsements.

It was left up to the State Board of Education to decide which courses make up each of the endorsements.

Earlier: The State Board of Education on Thursday dropped a high school speech requirement that had been in place for about two decades as the board members hammered out the details for new graduation plans. The 8 to 6 vote on the speech requirement was the first of the big issues that the board will wrestle with Thursday, Friday and again in January.

The board members have been slogging through the rule changes needed to implement House Bill 5, an overhaul of graduation requirements that the Legislature unanimously approved last spring.

“We’ve got a ton left still to do,” Board Chairwoman Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, said late Thursday afternoon after nearly seven hours of work.

Public Comment Period:
The new graduation plan will be posted on the TEA website for a 30-day public comment in Dec. with a final vote in Jan.


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