FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 03/28/2013
HOUSE ADOPTS SIMMONS FLOOR AMENDMENT FOR SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS
HOUSE ADOPTS SIMMONS FLOOR AMENDMENT FOR SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS IN HISTORIC EDUCATION REFORM BILL
AUSTIN – On Tuesday, the Texas House of Representatives passed HB 5, priority education legislation designed to reduce the burden of standardized testing, expand curriculum options for all students, and enhance school accountability. HB 5 passed almost unanimously after 10 hours of debate.
The bill provides different pathways to prepare high school students for success in life. These opportunities will now be available to all, not just those who attend four-year colleges. Students will be able to explore the subjects that motivate and interest them while preparing them for unfilled jobs in Texas. HB 5 also reduces the required number of mandatory end of course exams from 15 to 5.
Simmons stated, “Rather than dealing with the burden of standardized testing, it is my hope that this bill will allow educators to focus on what they do best, and that is teaching our students. Furthermore, the expanded curriculum options are designed to prepare more students for a productive career, whether or not they choose to pursue higher education.”
HB 5 also proposes a new state rating system will enhance the measurement of a school's academic performance, community and student engagement, and financial performance. These ratings would replace the current rating system (Exemplary, Recognized, Acceptable, and Unacceptable) to a rating system of “A, B, C, D, and F”, providing parents the opportunity to better evaluate their school.
Rep. Simmons offered an important Floor Amendment that provided improvements for the education of special needs students. The amendment provides flexibility and options for school districts beyond the existing STAAR-ALT standardized test for measuring the performance of special education students.
"This amendment is a win for special needs kids and parents," said Rep. Simmons. “No two students in special education programs are alike. We should not test them like they are."
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