for Academic Progress, Student Success
Chamber, community leaders commend AISD and area leaders
for selecting distinguished graduation plan
AUSTIN, TX— The Texas Association of Business (TAB), The Austin Chamber of Commerce and civil rights leaders applaud the Central Texas school districts, including the Austin Independent School District, that have set the new distinguished diploma as the default diploma for high school students, keeping career and college options open for all students.
“I applaud the Austin Chamber, Central Texas School Districts and the other community leaders for stepping forward first to make sure that we do not lose ground and have a strong regional workforce in the end,” added Bill Hammond, President of the Texas Association of Business. “Preparing the region’s future workforce is imperative to the success of our further economic prosperity. It is our charge as the business community to ensure that our students are prepared for the jobs that are available in Central Texas. School districts must be held accountable for providing the tools our students will need to flourish after high school. It is my hope that school districts across the state also will follow this course of action to ensure we have an educated workforce.”
“This is local control at its finest, when school districts choose to go the extra mile to set high academic expectations for our young people to help ensure their future success,” David Reiter, Chamber 2014 Education Chair and Luminex SVP & General Counsel, said. “This preserves all options for our students as they enter high school, whether for a certification in a high demand field to the likelihood of being admitted to a Texas university.”
House Bill 5, passed by lawmakers last session, rolled back high school graduation requirements in core subject areas, especially in math and science. Of particular concern to the Austin Chamber, TAB and their allies has been the deletion of Algebra II from most graduation plans. Approximately 81 percent of the Class of 2012 in Region 13 completed the current Recommended or Distinguished diploma plans, which include four years of math, science, English and social studies.
Students who do not choose to add Algebra II to their high school transcripts are at a disadvantage when it comes to SAT, ACT and the new Texas Success Initiative higher education placement test. Students who fail to take Algebra II also will be excluded from the Top 10 percent of their high school classes. Finally, each Texas public university will continue to require Algebra II, chemistry and physics for admission for the Class of 2014.
The choice to make the distinguished diploma the default does not preclude students from pursuing a full range of options under five new high school diploma endorsements. Including Algebra II in every high school diploma, as well as chemistry and physics, gives students the preparation for long-term careers and not just short-term jobs.
“The state has set career and college readiness as the standard for what students must attain from a Texas high school. We urge the Texas State Board of Education to include Algebra II, a key tool for college preparedness and eligibility, in the default curriculum for all students,” said Celina Moreno, attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF). “Educational equity for all students cannot be at local option.”