Sunday, April 18, 2021

A really great bill (SB 2061) on Eighth-Grade Algebra by Texas state Senator Jose Menendez

This is a really great bill (SB 2061) by Texas state Senator Jose Menendez who represents San Antonio. It will ensure that many more students take Algebra I in the 8th grade by virtue notifying them early on. Not taking Algebra I in the 8th grade is very consequential as it structures out advanced mathematics later when they get to high school. It reduces their competitiveness at the college level relative to those that have had the full menu of mathematics.

This happens not because our students aren't capable or because this is their choice, but rather because neither they themselves personally nor their parents, are notified about this. 

Let's all lend our support to this bill.  Reach out to whoever represents you in the Texas State Legislature and let them know how you feel.

Thanks to Senator Menéndez for his leadership. This one bill could signal a sea change in so many students' trajectories.

-Angela Valenzuela

 87R6597 TSS-D
 By: MenéndezS.B. No. 2061
 relating to information on and requirements for certain courses and
 educational programs offered in public schools, including courses
 offered through the state virtual school network.
        SECTION 1.  Section 26.0031(c-1), Education Code, is amended
 to read as follows:
        (c-1)  A school district or open-enrollment charter school
 may decline to pay the cost for a student of more than three
 yearlong electronic courses, or the equivalent, during any school
 year.  This subsection does not:
              (1)  limit the ability of the student to enroll in
 additional electronic courses at the student's cost; or
              (2)  apply to a student enrolled in:
                    (A)  a full-time online program that was operating
 on January 1, 2013; or
                    (B)  a district or school that has fewer than
 1,600 students in average daily attendance for the current school
        SECTION 2.  Section 28.002, Education Code, is amended by
 adding Subsection (c-4) to read as follows:
        (c-4)  The State Board of Education shall by rule require
 each district to make available to each eighth grade student in the
 district an Algebra I course.  Notwithstanding Section 7.056(e),
 the commissioner may grant a district a temporary waiver from the
 requirements of this subsection if necessary, as determined by the
        SECTION 3.  Subchapter A, Chapter 28, Education Code, is
 amended by adding Section 28.0161 to read as follows:
 CAREER CHOICES. Each school year, a school district shall provide
 to each district student entering grades 6 through 10 and the
 student's parent or guardian information regarding:
              (1)  the courses offered as part of the foundation
 curriculum adopted under Section 28.002(a)(1) and available at the
 campus attended by the student and at any high school campus that
 the student is expected to attend; and
              (2)  potential career choices and the curriculum
 requirements and courses needed to pursue those careers.
        SECTION 4.  Subchapter B, Chapter 28, Education Code, is
 amended by adding Section 28.028 to read as follows:
 (a)  Not later than September 1 of each year, the agency shall post
 information to the agency's Internet website on the number of
 students who, during the previous school year, were enrolled in or
 accepted into:
              (1)  an educational program for gifted and talented
 students under Subchapter D, Chapter 29;
              (2)  an Algebra I course as an eighth grade student;
              (3)  an Algebra II or precalculus course or other
 advanced mathematics course;
              (4)  an advanced placement course;
              (5)  an international baccalaureate course; or
              (6)  an OnRamps dual enrollment course or other dual
 credit course.
        (b)  The information shall include the percentage of
 students who received a passing score in the course or who remained
 in the program, as applicable, and must be aggregated by campus,
 district, and grade level and disaggregated by student race, sex,
 ethnicity, grade level, and socioeconomic status.
        (c)  In posting information under this section, the agency
 must comply with all state and federal privacy laws applicable to
 student information.
        SECTION 5.  Section 30A.153(a-1), Education Code, is amended
 to read as follows:
        (a-1)  For purposes of Subsection (a), a school district or
 open-enrollment charter school is limited to the funding described
 by that subsection for a student's enrollment in not more than three
 electronic courses during any school year, unless:
              (1)  the student is enrolled in a full-time online
 program that was operating on January 1, 2013; or
              (2)  the district or school has fewer than 1,600
 students in average daily attendance for the current school year.
        SECTION 6.  Not later than January 1, 2022, the State Board
 of Education shall adopt rules necessary to implement the
 requirements of Section 28.002(c-4), Education Code, as added by
 this Act.
        SECTION 7.  This Act applies beginning with the 2021-2022
 school year.
        SECTION 8.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
 a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
 provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this
 Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
 Act takes effect September 1, 2021.

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