The Commerce Journal

June 26, 2013

New house bill reduces end of course exams

By Joseph Hamrick
The Commerce Journal

COMMERCE — After a long and difficult battle with the state legislation, which included speaking before Austin on multiple occasions, Commerce Independent School District Superintendent Blake Cooper is beginning to see the rewards of his efforts.

Texas House Bill 5, which decreases the number of standardized tests students have to take in order to graduate from 15, down to five end of course exams, was passed with only two dissenting votes late last month.

The five end of course exams student need to pas in order to graduate are English II, algebra I, biology and U.S. History.

According to Cooper, there was a lot of bargaining that went on during the process, but they got most of what they wanted.

Cooper said the new measures will ultimately benefit school children.

“In the democratic process there is going to be a give and take,” he said. “But this is great for the kids.”

Part of the bill included incentives to work with colleges to add more dual credit classes and certifications.

Cooper is taking advantage of that by working with Paris Junior College to have welding and electrical certification programs, as well as partnering with Texas A&M University-Commerce to add a computer programming certificate this fall.

Cooper said although the bill was a step in the right direction, more still needs to be done to help ensure children are properly taken care of at the state level.

“I am pleased with the number of tests,” he said. “I’m still not fully satisfied with the accountability.”