Submitted by Ken Paxton, State Senator
Current law provides for three public high school graduation plans: minimum, recommended, and distinguished. All students are required to satisfy four credits each in English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. To opt out of this default program, students and their parents must sign a permission form. As a result, most students have very limited options to pursue coursework relating to career and technology programs.
SB 3 transforms the current structure by creating a single diploma, the foundation program, with endorsements in business and industry, academic achievement in arts and humanities or STEM, and distinguished. Each endorsement enables students to focus on their own academic goals and prepares them for higher education and the workforce.
SB 3 also provides for weighted career and technology education funding in the eighth grade in order to provide students with a course in career explorations. This one-semester course will provide students with an overview of the different endorsement options and the possible career paths available to them. All students will begin an individual graduation plan to help prepare them and their parents for high school.
We have heard from parents and students about the need for more flexibility in school curriculum requirements so that students can tailor coursework to better meet their long-term academic and career objectives. SB 3 responds to those needs by creating more flexibility in the state’s current high school required curriculum structure to enable students to choose an individualized graduation plan with added focus in business and technology or academic achievement in arts and humanities. I will continue to closely monitor its progress to help ensure that what is finally passed helps ensure that students are graduating with the skills they need to help them achieve their long-term goals.
Ken Paxton, a practicing attorney from McKinney, was first elected to the Texas Senate in 2012 after serving five terms in the Texas House of Representatives. Senate District 8 includes portions of Collin and Dallas Counties, including Allen, Dallas, Fairview, Frisco, Lucas, McKinney, Murphy, Parker, Plano, Richardson, Sachse, St. Paul and Wylie.