Texas Senate News
Archived News | Live Webcast | Archive Webcast | Podcasts
April 29, 2009 (512) 463-0300

SENATE APPROVES NEW SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY PLAN

Sen. Shapiro
Senator Florence Shapiro of Plano describes provisions in her bill to revamp the State's public school accountability system.

(AUSTIN) — Texas public schools would put college readiness at the top of the list under a new accountability plan passed by the Senate Wednesday. Senator and Education Committee Chair Florence Shapiro of Plano said the current accountability system has created an illusion of progress, but the state needs a system that tracks actual progress based on post high-school student success. "The passing standards on the assessments lack any link to success after graduation," she said. "The world today requires sound preparation. All students must be prepared for post-secondary education." Her bill, SB 3, would measure college success based on how prepared students are for math and English when they get to college.

SB 3 would update curriculum requirements for high school students: four credits each in math, science, social studies and English, two credits in the same foreign language, and eight electives. These electives could be fine arts, or career-in-technology education, permitting students who donít plan on going to college to receive workforce training. Students that meet college readiness standards for Algebra 2 and English 3 end of course exams could not be put in remediation classes in college. The bill puts new emphasis on fine arts instruction, mandating four credits in fine arts for middle schoolers.

School districts would be under new accountability standards under the bill. Accreditation and performance ratings would be based not only on passing standards, but also on how students score on college readiness standards. Schools could receive recognition in more areas, for success in 21st century workforce development, fine arts, secondary languages, PE, and academic excellence.

Shapiro also highlighted flexibility in the new accountability system. It would not punish schools for the failure on one subgroup at a school, as long as the school meets 85 percent of other accountability targets. Schools would have to, however, bring that group up to successful standards after one year. Ratings would be based on three-year rolling averages, rather than performance in a single year. These new standards will not go into full effect until the 2013-14 school year.

The Senate will reconvene Thursday, April 30 at 11 a.m.

Session video and all other webcast recordings can be accessed from the Senate website's audio and video archive pages.

Top