SENATE EASES END OF COURSE REQUIREMENTS
|Houston Senator Dan Patrick, chair of the Senate Education Committee, lays out the first bill passed by the Senate this session.|
(AUSTIN) — The Senate voted unanimously Wednesday to get rid of a mandate that requires high school end-of-course exams to make up 15 percent of a student's final grade. SB 135, by Houston Senator and Education Committee Chair Dan Patrick, wouldn't remove the requirement for an end-of-course exam, but it would let individual districts decide how much that exam affects a student's final grade. Patrick told colleagues this is something on which the state has received a lot of feedback. "Overwhelmingly, the request has been to leave this as a local option."
The original requirement was passed by the Legislature in 2009, but the commissioner of Education has twice delayed implementation of the provision. This bill now heads to the House for consideration.
Wednesday's bill was the first one passed out of the Senate this session. The Texas Constitution forbids lawmakers from taking up any bills on the floor in the first sixty days of session. This rule can be suspended if four-fifths of the membership agrees. As SB 135 was approved unanimously, it easily met this threshold and was able to be considered. The exception to the sixty-day limit is any legislation the Governor designates as "emergency" at the beginning of the session, though Governor Rick Perry did not single out any emergency issues this session.
The Senate will reconvene Monday, February 11 at 2 p.m.