by Coy Holcombe.
Below is part of a letter received from TEA regarding the new graduation requirements that go into effect on September 1, 2009. The new requirements were part of HB 3 passed in this last legislative session. Overall, HB 3 granted greater flexibility in the recommended and distinguished graduation plans and provided more guidelines for the minimum plan. One interesting note is the last paragraph of the letter which states that the new requirements will be in effect for all students beginning September 1.
With the passage of House Bill (HB) 3, new graduation requirements will take effect on September 1, 2009. These new requirements supersede the graduation requirements in 19 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) Chapter 74.
Recommended High School Program (RHSP) and Distinguished Achievement Program (DAP)
For the recommended (RHSP) and advanced (DAP) high school programs, the total number of credits required for graduation and the requirement of 4 credits in the 4 foundation areas of mathematics, English language arts, science, and social studies/economics did not change. HB 3 changes include:
providing more flexibility in the enrichment areas of the RHSP by increasing the number of elective credits to 6, requiring 1 credit of physical education, 2 credits of a language other than English (LOTE), and 1 credit of fine arts; and
providing more flexibility in the enrichment areas in the DAP by increasing the number of elective credits to 5, requiring 1 credit of physical education, 3 credits of LOTE, and 1 credit of fine arts.
Minimum High School Program
Permission to graduate under the minimum high school program must be agreed to in writing and signed by the student, student’s parent (or other person standing in parental relation to the student), and a school counselor or school administrator.
Under HB 3, to graduate under the minimum high school program, students must:
be at least 16 years of age;
have completed 2 credits required for graduation in each subject of the foundation curriculum; or
have failed to be promoted to the 10th grade one or more times as determined by the school district.
Students already in the minimum high school program do not have to meet the HB 3 requirements to enter the program, but must be given the choice of opting back into the recommended high school program.
Local districts may continue to adopt additional graduation requirements that go beyond the state requirements for graduation.
Typically, new graduation requirements take effect with the incoming freshman class. However, the flexibility in the new HB 3 graduation requirements impacts all high school students beginning with the 2009-2010 school year. All students are able to graduate under the HB 3 high school graduation requirements beginning in the 2009-10 school year, unless the district has adopted additional local requirements.