Proposed Approval of Innovative Courses
July 17, 2009
COMMITTEE ON INSTRUCTION: ACTION
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION: ACTION
SUMMARY: This item recommends approval of innovative courses that do not fall within any of the subject areas of the foundation or enrichment curriculum.
STATUTORY AUTHORITY: Texas Education Code (TEC), §28.002(f).
PREVIOUS BOARD ACTION: The State Board of Education (SBOE) adopted 19 TAC §74.27, Innovative Courses and Programs, to be effective September 1, 1996, with amendments to be effective September 1, 1998. In November 2007, the SBOE adopted additional amendments to 19 TAC §74.27, to be effective December 25, 2007.
In May 1998, the SBOE approved nine innovative courses that do not fall within any of the subject areas of the foundation or enrichment curriculum; in May 1999, approved four courses; in May 2000, approved six courses; in May 2001, approved eleven courses; in May 2002, approved eight courses; in July 2003, approved seven courses; in May 2004, approved the renewal of nine courses and approved one new course; in April 2005, approved the renewal of two courses; in April 2006, approved the renewal of five courses; in July 2007, approved the renewal of six courses and approved three new courses; and in May 2008, approved the renewal of one course.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND SIGNIFICANT ISSUES: After the board adopted new rules concerning graduation requirements, the experimental courses previously approved were phased out as of August 31, 1998. As a result of the adoption of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), districts now submit new requests for innovative course approval for courses that do not have TEKS.
The process outlined in 19 TAC §74.27 provides authority for the commissioner of education to approve discipline-based courses, but reserves for SBOE review and approval those courses that do not fall within any of the subject areas of the foundation or enrichment curriculum.
House Bill 3, passed by the 81st Texas Legislature changes graduation requirements including increasing the number of state elective credits to provide students with additional flexibility.
Attachment III provides a brief description of five courses submitted for SBOE review and consideration, three for renewal and two for initial approval. The recommended effective date for any courses approved would be “beginning with school year 2009-2010.” The course(s) would be available for school districts' use through collaboration with the applying organization that provides the curriculum and professional development and would be available to support the district in course implementation or, in the case of those submitted by districts, with local school board approval.
FISCAL IMPACT: None.
PUBLIC AND STUDENT BENEFIT: Students would have access to courses that meet local district needs.
PROCEDURAL AND REPORTING IMPLICATIONS: None.
PUBLIC COMMENTS: None.
OTHER COMMENTS AND RELATED ISSUES: House Bill 3, passed by the 81st Texas Legislature changes graduation requirements to increase flexibility for students. Given the changes in law, the SBOE may want to postpone long-term approval of innovative courses pending other decisions regarding graduation requirements including review of the innovative course approval process. Courses that are not approved for state elective credit may still be offered by school districts for local credit.
COMMISSIONER'S RECOMMENDATION: I recommend that the State Board of Education:
Consider extending approval of courses submitted for renewal for the following school year only, or not approve any courses for the following school year pending review of the innovative course approval process in light of the new graduation requirements.
Commissioner of Education
Staff Members Responsible:
Anita Givens, Associate Commissioner
Standards and Programs
Norma Torres-Martinez, Deputy Associate Commissioner
Standards and Alignment
I. Statutory Citation
II. Text of 19 TAC §74.27, Innovative Courses and Programs
III. Innovative Courses Recommended