Implementation of New Texas Graduation Requirements Needs Further Study
Ready Texas: Stakeholder Convening Proceedings Report Released
[May 5, 2016] Texas adopted substantial changes to high school curricula in 2013 (under House Bill 5). Policymakers, education and business leaders, families, and students are now faced with the question of how implementation of those changes is impacting the state of college readiness and success in Texas.
Comprehensive research is needed to understand the implications for various student groups and Texas as a whole. Some research and evaluation is already underway; other questions need to be examined.
The Ready Texas: Stakeholder Convening took place on February 10, 2016. This convening, led by IDRA and carried out in partnership with UTeach at UT Austin, brought together education, community, policy, foundation, business and philanthropic leaders to discuss the future of post-secondary education in Texas and to provide input on the design of a statewide study of HB5 implementation. The convening was made possible through a grant from Greater Texas Foundation.
Dr. María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, IDRA President & CEO, said: “We must make sure that every student has access to high quality teaching and a quality curriculum that prepares them for post-secondary education. As researchers, we play a critical role by examining policies and practices that contribute to students’ success or failure. Together, the future is in our hands.”
Participants and other stakeholders contributed questions, concerns and recommendations through the pre-convening stakeholder survey, in-person gathering, and follow up evaluation. Their insights were invaluable to understanding what stakeholders most want to know about how the implementation of HB5 is unfolding and what this implies for Texas students and post-secondary preparation, access and success. Their input will inform research on the most important aspects of HB5 and ensuring that we build on existing studies and evaluation.
Dr. Wynn Rosser, Greater Texas Foundation President & CEO, said: “What happens in Texas is important. One in 10 K-12 students in the nation is a Texan. One in 14 first-time-in-college students in the nation is a Texan. We have more kids than some states have total population. So we’re dealing with a scope and a scale that matters.”
In contrast to the new graduation requirements and removal of the more rigorous courses from the standard curriculum, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has established the 60x30TX plan, which serves as the long-range strategic plan for Texas higher education, with the main goal that 60 percent of Texans ages 25 to 34 will have a certificate or degree by 2030. Currently, the state is a 38 percent.
Stakeholders raised key questions about…
whether and how the implementation of HB5 might impact the overall state of post-secondary preparation in Texas;
whether school districts have the capacity and resources to provide a full range of rigorous course options – and to offer these options equitably both within and across school districts;
whether families and students have the information they need to navigate new requirements and opportunities and whether counselors have the resources to support them;
whether STEM course offerings and course taking are preparing students of all backgrounds for success;
whether curriculum tracking is an issue or not
what we can learn from challenges and best practices; and
whether Texas graduates will have the preparation they need for the college and career dreams to which they aspire.
Importantly, across sectors, stakeholders seek to assure that students of all backgrounds and in every zip code have access to a curriculum that prepares them to realize their college and career aspirations. They also underscored the importance of further research that informs policy and practice.
The proceedings report released today captures highlights from the project and is available online. The report explores pathways, trends and preparation for the future of Texas; student aspirations; school district and community responses to HB5; Ready Texas survey findings and scan of research; and an overview of stakeholder input.
We look forward to continuing the conversation about curriculum quality and access and post-secondary readiness and success for Texas students. Access to and success in higher education, in a range of fields, will help drive new innovation, discovery and creative contributions to the economy, our communities and our quality of life.
Report and Related Materials
Ready Texas: Stakeholder Convening Proceedings Report (dynamic view)
Ready Texas: Stakeholder Convening Proceedings Report (printable PDF)
Texas Higher Ed Commissioner on College Access – IDRA Classnotes Podcast Episode 161 – At IDRA’s Ready Texas: Stakeholder Convening event, Dr. Raymund A. Paredes, Texas Commissioner of Higher Education, shared insights about how Texas students were faring under the previous curriculum plan compared to other states and what stakeholders need to examine now to assure the state is preparing all students for post-secondary success.
IDRA’s Ready Texas: Stakeholder Convening Presentations Online
Texas Graduation Plan Changes – Slideshare – by Ms. Laurie Posner, IDRA Senior Education Associate and Director, Ready Texas project
Stakeholder Survey Findings and Scan – Slideshare – by Dr. Sofia Bahena, IDRA Senior Education Associate and Researcher, Ready Texas Project
STEM Pathways, Trends, and Preparation for the Future of Texas – Prezi – by Dr. Michael Marder, Professor, Department of Physics and co-Director, UTeach Program, University of Texas at Austin
Findings from the Family/ Community Survey on HB5 Implementation in South Texas – Slideshare – by Mr. Michael Seifert, Network Weaver for the Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network
Community Groups and Parents Survey Peers about Graduation Policy
– The Equal Voice-Rio Grande Valley Network, which includes Comunitario PTA members, surveyed more than 1,600 parents about their knowledge of Texas’ curriculum tracking policies and new graduation requirements. They learned that three out of four parents of teens in the Texas Rio Grande Valley have not received information about the new tracking policies and graduation plans. Few parents across 24 school districts and 30 cities in the Rio Grande Valley had received information from their children’s schools. IDRA analyzed the survey data and developed a report with the survey’s key findings, implications, and recommended next action steps for communities.