Texas Education Leaders Begin End-of-Course Testing Re-Alignment

Perry Dewhurst & Patrick call for deferral of 15 Rule support bill to give local districts permanent flexibility

width=182Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN Texas This week we received the excellent news that our states graduation rate ties for the nations 3rd best. As you know this accomplishment did not happen by accident nor did it happen overnight said Gov. Rick Perry today while sending a letter to Texas Education Commissioner Michael width=70Williams asking him to defer until the 2013-14 school year the requirement that an End-of-Course Assessment count as 15 of a students final course grade.

The governor also applauded Sen. Dan Patrick for filing legislation to give school districts permanent flexibility.

Read Perrys letter Lt. Gov. Dewhursts comments and further details of Sen. Patricks efforts here.

The state of Texas has set the bar for a standard of excellence and our school districts teachers parents  and students have worked together to meet the challenges of our rigorous standards" Gov. Perry said in his letter.

While we must continue to adhere to our states accountability system we must also recognize the importance of local control. That is why I am asking you to defer until the 2013-14 school year the requirement that an End-of-Course Assessment count as 15 of a students final course grade" Perry said.

Additionally Perry applauded the Senate Education Committee Chairman Dan Patricks filing of legislation to permanently make the 15  grade provision a local option for school districts citing the importance of giving them the discretion to enact changes at a level and pace that is right for them.

Perry said he is committed to working with Sen. Patrick (R-Houston) and lawmakers to making flexibility permanent.

Yesterday I filed legislation that will make the 15 grade provision a local option for width=147school districts. I filed Senate Bill 135 to permanently make the 15 grade requirement a local option.

This is about local control. The school districts and the parents should have a voice on whether the end of course exams should count towards a students final grade" said Sen. Patrick.

Allowing school districts to make this decision will return more local control to our school districts Patrick said. 
Students will still need to pass a series of statewide standard tests to graduate. Districts can choose to use the End-of-Course (EOC) exam as their final this year or anytime in the future. However they will not be required to do so under SB135. The hundreds of superintendents and scores of parents I have talked with want their districts to have a choice and parents to have a voice on whether the EOC exam should also count as a final exam grade in addition to having to pass the test. I believe in more choice for districts and parents said Patrick. Senator Patrick said he also plans to address other aspects of the STAAR exam including cumulative scoring and how width=94the results are reported to parents and schools. Patrick also joined Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst in writing a letter to Commissioner Michael Williams seeking to defer the implementation of the requirement that a students End-of-Course (EOC) exam grade count as 15 of the students final course grade.
Today I sent a letter also signed by Senator Dan Patrick to Commissioner Williams indicating my support for modifying the transition plan to defer implementation of the 15 grading requirement related to STAAR end-of-course exams for the 2012-13 school year. said Dewhurst. SB 135 which will resolve this issue moving forward gives school districts the option to use the STAAR end-of-course exam as 15 of a students final grade in a course and brings us one step closer to returning local control. Texas education system depends on promoting accountability in coursework and testing. We must challenge our students not only to prepare them for post-secondary success but also to invest in the future success of Texas."
Even before I became the Senate Chair of Education it was clear the 15 issue was a major source of frustration for districts teachers parents and students. Its important to once again delay the 15 requirement until the legislature addresses this issue next session said Patrick. In the coming weeks Patrick said he will unveil broad based legislation on accountability choice career and technology. Reform is an ongoing process and success is never final said Patrick. My priority will continue to focus on higher standards accountability and rigor added Patrick.

To read Gov. Perrys letter to Commissioner Williams visit http://governor.state.tx.us/files/press-office/O-WilliamsMichael20121129_(2).pdf.

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