CARROLTON – Gov. Rick Perry today ceremonially signed House Bill (HB) 3, which will improve public education and strengthen the state’s public school accountability system by holding schools accountable for graduating students who are college and career-ready, ensuring that schools retain rigorous high school graduation plans, improving parent access to student academic information and increasing school district financial transparency.
“Our goal is for young Texans, no matter their economic status, to graduate from our high schools career and college-ready with the essential knowledge and learning skills that will allow them to tackle what’s next,” Gov. Perry said. “House Bill 3 moves Texas boldly forward in this direction, and makes the Lone Star State a leader in holding schools directly accountable for ensuring our students graduate college and career-ready.”
In today’s high-tech, global economy, it is essential that all students are on track to graduate college and career-ready, and under HB 3 schools will be held accountable for ensuring students meet these standards. The bill will also reduce the cost of higher education by requiring the alignment of high school end-of-course exams with higher education expectations so that students who graduate high school are prepared for rigorous college coursework.
“Texas is the first state to make college-readiness the aim of its accountability system,” House Committee on Public Education Chairman Rep. Rob Eissler said. “It is our hope that this new policy will lead to fewer dropouts and more relevant and meaningful experiences for our kids.”
Additionally, HB 3 encourages students to stay on the recommended high school plan, which ensures that a majority of graduates have completed four years of English, science, social studies and math, while also allowing students greater flexibility in their schedules to take courses that will prepare them for career success.
“I am excited about the new school accountability law which will change the financial and scholastic accountability of our schools and children. These education reforms emphasize post secondary readiness to prepare our children for college and the work force,” Rep. Mark Shelton said. “It was an honor to work with Public Education Chairman Rob Eissler on this bill which will improve education in our Texas public schools.”
The bill also discourages social promotion by requiring that districts make the academic criteria considered for promotion in grades 3-8 public by the start of each school year, and gives the Commissioner of Education the authority to lower a school’s accountability rating if a pattern of social promotion is present. Additionally, a student who fails the TAKS test in any grade must be provided additional instruction by the school district.
“Measuring our students’ readiness for postsecondary success is the hallmark of this legislation,” Sen. Florence Shapiro said. “It will no longer be enough for our schools to have students simply perform on a test with no end goal, and the course offerings in this bill provide students an opportunity to choose the classes that meet their talents. An engaged student is more likely to graduate ready for success, whether in the workforce or in higher education.”
HB 3 also promotes greater financial transparency by requiring each school district to post its budget online, and allows the Comptroller to rank districts according to their resource allocation efficiencies. This ensures that taxpayers, parents and educators have information about how much money is being spent in the classroom and on specific programs, and will help keep districts accountable for using education tax dollars efficiently.
The governor was joined by Rep. Eissler, Rep. Shelton, Rep. Brian McCall, Sen. Royce West and Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott for the signing at the Math, Engineering, Technology and Science Academy (METSA) at R.L. Turner High School. The METSA program allows students who are interested in engineering to gain an introduction to the field through a developmental four year program in high school.
For more information about the 81st Legislative Session, please visit http://www.governor.state.tx.us or http://www.legis.state.tx.us/Home.aspx