I want to inform you
of my intent to file rules that would allow students completing the fourth year
of high school during the 2013-2014 school year to graduate under the new
Foundation High School Program as permitted by Section 28.025(h-2), Texas
Education Code, as added by House Bill (HB) 5, passed by the 83rd
Texas Legislature, 2013, and signed into law by Governor Perry.
majority of seniors this year will continue to graduate under the existing
Minimum High School Program (MHSP), Recommended High School Program (RHSP), and
Distinguished Achievement Program (DAP), a small group of students may meet the
requirements for the new Foundation High School Program and choose to graduate
under that program. However, the requirements for the endorsements and
performance acknowledgments have not yet been determined by the State Board of
Education (SBOE). Consequently, a student who chooses to graduate under the
Foundation High School Program in 2013-2014 will earn a foundation diploma only
and will not have the option to earn an endorsement, the distinguished level of
achievement, or a performance acknowledgment.
The proposed rules will only
apply to the small group of students who are able to complete the coursework
required to graduate under the Foundation High School Program in 2013-2014,
choose this option, and graduate in the 2013-2014 school year. This includes
students who complete the required coursework during the summer of 2014, but not
The SBOE has sole authority to determine the curriculum
requirements for all the endorsement options and performance acknowledgments.
The SBOE is actively working to adopt rules to specify the curriculum
requirements for the foundation high school program and related components that
will be fully implemented beginning with the 2014-2015 school year with final
decisions expected in January 2014.
To help planning and communication
with students and parents, please find attached an outline of what the proposed
rule will include for those students completing their fourth year of high school
and wishing to graduate under the Foundation High School Program in the
2013-2014 school year. Please note that once the rules are filed in the coming
weeks, they will be subject to public comment. Changes will be made, as
appropriate, in response to those public comments, and then the rules will be
adopted as final.
Before making a final decision regarding the graduation
program they will pursue, I would strongly encourage students - especially those
who are planning to pursue a degree in higher education - and their parents to
consider the benefits of taking additional advanced math and science courses
required by the current four-by-four and to fully research required or
recommended coursework for admission to at any higher education institution they
have interest in attending.
Please note that students who were first-time
9th graders before the 2011-2012 school year must meet the established
performance standards for the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) to
be eligible to graduate from a Texas public school. This graduation requirement
is applicable to the majority of students who are currently classified as
seniors. The assessment requirements for this group of students have not
The SBOE is likely to make different decisions about
the Foundation High School Program requirements that will be in effect in future
years, but the decisions reflected in the attachment and upcoming rule proposal
try to maintain the previous decisions of the SBOE to the greatest extent
possible. You may stay informed about developments concerning the HB 5
graduation requirements at the following website: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=25769806149.