Consideration of Options for Graduation Credit for Athletics
January 23, 2009
COMMITTEE OF THE FULL BOARD: ACTION
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION: ACTION
SUMMARY: As the result of a petition submitted to the State Board of Education (SBOE) requesting that athletics for one to four credits be added to the list of allowable elective credits for graduation, the SBOE took action to approve the petition and initiate the rulemaking process. During the May 2008 meeting the Committee on Instruction directed staff to seek input from administrators throughout the state regarding the proposed amendment and to present the item at the July 2008 Committee of the Full Board meeting for further discussion. At the July 2008 meeting, agency staff presented the results of the survey to the SBOE. The SBOE considered this item at the November 2008 meeting and voted to postpone the item until January 2009. This item presents options for consideration for graduation credits for athletics.
STATUTORY AUTHORITY: Texas Education Code (TEC), §§7.102(c)(4), 28.002, and 28.025(a).
PREVIOUS BOARD ACTION: The rules in 19 TAC Chapter 74, Curriculum Requirements, Subchapter F, Graduation Requirements, Beginning with School Year 2007-2008, were adopted by the SBOE to be effective September 1, 2005. Section 74.61, High School Graduation Requirements, was last amended to be effective December 25, 2007. Section 74.62, Minimum High School Program, has not been amended. Section 74.63, Recommended High School Program, and §74.64, Distinguished Achievement High School Program--Advanced High School Program, were amended to be effective January 9, 2007. The Committee on Instruction discussed the proposed amendment to 19 TAC §74.61, High School Graduation Requirements, at the May 2008 meeting. Agency staff was directed to gather additional information and to present the item in July 2008 to the Committee of the Full Board for further discussion. Staff presented survey results at the July 2008 meeting. The SBOE considered this item at the November 2008 meeting and voted to postpone the item until January 2009.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND SIGNIFICANT ISSUES: The amendments to 19 TAC Chapter 74, Subchapter F, Graduation Requirements, Beginning with School Year 2007-2008, adopted by the SBOE in November 2006 included changes to reflect the four years of mathematics and science graduation requirements of House Bill 1, 79th Texas Legislature, Third Called Session, 2006. These changes only applied to the recommended high school and distinguished achievement programs found in 19 TAC §74.63 and §74.64. The amendments adopted by the SBOE included increasing the credits required for graduation from 24 credits to 26 credits in order to preserve the number of elective courses in each of the graduation programs.
The minimum high school graduation program allows for five and one-half elective credits. The recommended high school program allows for three and one-half elective credits. The distinguished achievement program allows for two and one-half elective credits. Additionally, each graduation program specifies in subsection (b)(7)(A) of §§74.62-74.64 that a student may not earn more than two credits in physical education toward state graduation requirements.
Mr. Craig Agnew submitted to the SBOE a petition requesting that athletics for one to four credits be added to the list of allowable elective credits for graduation. During the March 2008 meeting the SBOE took action to approve the petition and initiate the rulemaking process, beginning with a discussion item at the May 2008 meeting. The SBOE instructed staff to advise the SBOE if there are any statutory complications with the contemplated rule action. Staff found that the proposed amendment does not conflict with current statutory requirements.
During the May 2008 meeting the Committee on Instruction directed staff to seek input from administrators throughout the state regarding the proposed amendment and to present the item at the July 2008 Committee of the Full Board meeting for further discussion. As directed, agency staff distributed a survey to Texas school district administrators, specifically to high school principals, regarding the award of state elective credit toward graduation for four years of athletics participation. Responses to the survey were presented at the July 2008 meeting. The responses generally reflected that district administrators would support having additional flexibility in the graduation plans. The committee directed staff to bring the item back for action in September. The cancellation of the September 2008 SBOE meeting due to hurricane-related issues moved this item to the November 2008 meeting. At the November 2008 meeting the SBOE voted to postpone the item until January 2009.
The SBOE will be presented with options for awarding credit toward graduation for athletics that include: 1) allow students to earn four credits toward graduation for athletics, but the final two credits would have to be earned for the extracurricular activity offered outside the regular school day; 2) expand the number of Physical Education (PE) credits allowed toward graduation to four; 3) allow districts to submit an innovative course application for the third and fourth credits of athletics; 4) establish Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for athletics courses; and 5) maintain the current two equivalency credits for athletics. Explanations and implications for each option will be provided to the SBOE prior to the January meeting.
FISCAL IMPACT: There will be normal business costs associated for the TEA, depending on which option is selected. Potential costs include staff travel, meeting accommodations, and production and dissemination of documents. It is not possible to determine the exact fiscal implication until the SBOE approves an option.
There are anticipated fiscal implications for school districts to implement new TEKS, should option 4 be selected, which may include the need for professional development. Since curriculum and instruction decisions are made at the local district level, it is difficult to estimate the fiscal impact on any given district.
The TEA has determined that there is no direct adverse economic impact for small businesses or microbusinesses; therefore, no regulatory flexibility analysis, specified in Texas Government Code, §2006.002, is required.
PUBLIC AND STUDENT BENEFIT: Depending upon the option selected, students could be allowed to use up to four athletics credits as elective credits toward graduation.
PROCEDURAL AND REPORTING IMPLICATIONS: School districts would need to notify students and parents about any changes made.
PUBLIC COMMENTS: None.
OTHER COMMENTS AND RELATED ISSUES: None.
COMMISSIONER'S RECOMMENDATION: I recommend that the State Board of Education:
Postpone action on approval to proceed with options for graduation credit for athletics until after the revision of graduation plans following the adoption of Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Career and Technical Education.
Commissioner of Education
Staff Member Responsible:
Anita Givens, Acting Associate Commissioner
Standards and Programs
I. Explanation and Implications for Option 1
II. Explanation and Implications for Option 2
III. Explanation and Implications for Option 3
IV. Explanation and Implications for Option 4
V. Explanation and Implications for Option 5 (to be provided prior to the January SBOE meeting)