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Lawmakers Move To Reduce Student Testing

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Stephanie Lucero
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - To graduate from a high school in Texas, students must first pass 15 standardized tests. That is more than any other state in the nation. But those requirements could soon change after an expected overhaul to the state’s education system. Both chambers of the State Legislature approved a move to make those changes, and Gov. Rick Perry is expected to sign the legislation when it reaches his desk.

Parents, students and teachers have long complained about the high number of standardized tests that high school students must first pass in order to graduate. The unanimous agreement in Austin would cut those tests from 15 to just five.

Some business groups lobbied, arguing that watered down academic standards would leave students unprepared for the jobs of tomorrow. But there was a sustained backlash against too much testing, so lawmakers have overhauled the state curriculum. The new change would allow some students to graduate without having to take an Algebra II class or any other advanced math or science classes.

The five tests required for graduation would include English I, English II, Biology, Algebra I and U.S. History.

State Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth issued a statement that said, “With the passage of House Bill 5, teachers and administrators will be assessing their children with far fewer tests, but with a curriculum that makes more sense in preparing kids for higher education and the workforce.”

The reforms also include charter schools. Lawmakers approved dramatically increasing the number of charter schools that are allowed to operate in Texas — raising the cap from 215 to 305 by September 2019.

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