Passed by the 83rd Texas Legislature in May and signed by the governor in June of 2013, House Bill 5 (HB5) introduces significant changes in curriculum, assessment, accountability, and graduation requirements. It also affects the degree of state versus local control over elements related to many areas of education, particularly curriculum.

While the legislation itself is lengthy and quite detailed, one of the most important takeaways for you as a K-12 educator is that HB5 directs the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) to plan together to ensure that educators, students, and families have the information they need—beginning in the middle-grade years—to help young people graduate ready for college and career. Ideally, this will result in changes to course-taking patterns and graduation planning in such a way as to offer more flexibility and to better prepare students to pursue a range of post-secondary options. Another important takeaway of HB5 is that it reduces the number of end-of-course (EOC) exams students are required to take in order to graduate.

HB5 will be in transition during the 2013-2014 school year. The State Board of Education (SBOE) is expected to elicit district input on several of the bill’s provisions, most of which are slated to be rolled out over the next few years and fully implemented by 2016-2017.

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