By Judy Sheridan
Aledo School Board President Bobby Rigues was in Austin last week testifying before the Senate Education Committee in support of House Bill 5.
The bill, which stayed intact for the most part, Rigues said, was voted favorably out of committee and will now go to the entire Senate.
“It’s too early to tell what this will actually look like once the dust settles,” he said, “but the meat of it makes it an overall positive bill for children.”
According to a TASB legislative report, HB 5 would reduce the number of end-of-course exams from 15 to five, create a new accountability system for schools — replacing the Exemplary, Recognized, Academically Acceptable and Academically Unacceptable ratings — and offer graduation requirement options.
Rigues testified on behalf of both the Aledo School District and the Texas Association of School Boards, applauding the bill’s flexibility and reduction in testing.
“HB 5 provides clarity in the sense that students take courses and don’t see the relevance to their future,” he explained. “With these graduation requirements they can find relevance as to how the courses can be applied on a career path.”
The bill creates a single “foundation” diploma, according to the TASB report.
It allows students to earn endorsements in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), business & industry, public services, arts & humanities and multidisciplinary studies.
Students can attain a distinguished achievement level in any of the endorsement areas by completing additional science and math credits.
Rigues told the committee that he wanted to go on record as supporting HB 5 specifically in the reduction of tests from 15 to 5.
“I said we’re in favor of rigor,” he said, “rigor of quality, not rigor of quantity.”