GoArts News: June 3, 2009
- Conference Committee version of HB 3 passes Senate and House on May 31, 2009
- One-credit high school fine arts graduation requirement retained
- New middle school fine arts requirement created
- High school students get six electives
- Fine arts included in distinction tier opportunity
Fine arts education gained ground in Texas late last night as the House and Senate adopted the conference committee report of HB 3 (the school accountability bill). For high school, the bill not only retains the one-credit fine arts graduation requirement but also allows students six electives which will make it possible for students to take more fine arts courses. For middle school, the bill creates a new requirement for one fine arts course in the 6th, 7th or 8th grade. The school accountability bill will now go to the governor for his signature. The following is a brief summary of the bill’s impact on fine arts education. More information about the gains by fine arts will be posted here by June 3.
The one-credit fine arts graduation requirement was retained in the recommended and advanced graduation plans (the requirement was added to the minimum graduation plan beginning with the students who graduate in 2015).
The Recommended Plan, which is considered the default graduation plan, will require the following courses to satisfy the 26-credit plan beginning in fall 2011 (students graduating in 2015):
- four credits of math, science, English language arts, and social studies
- two credits of foreign language
- one credit of fine arts
- one credit of physical education (credit available outside the school day with approval of commissioner)
- six electives
The bill contains the following language relative to a fine arts credit option:
The agency shall establish a pilot program allowing a student attending school in a county with a population of more than one million and in which more than 80 percent of the population resides in a single municipality to satisfy the fine arts credit required under Subsection (b-1)(3)(A) by participating in a fine arts program not provided by the school district in which the student is enrolled. The fine arts program may be provided on or off a school campus and outisde the regular school day. Not later than December 1, 2010, the agency shall provide to the legislature a report regarding the pilot program, including the feasibility of expanding the pilot program statewide.
Middle School Fine Arts Requirement
Starting in 2011, every student will be required to complete a single fine arts course during middle school (grades six, seven, and eight). This legislation marks the first time fine arts has been required in law for middle school students. The addition of this single course requirement gives some relief to the unfortunate ending of the TAKS pull-out bill (SB 1364) that passed in the Senate, but died on the House calendar due to stall tactics during Memorial Day weekend to kill the voter ID bill.
Campuses will have the opportunity to receive a fine arts recognition of distinction if they meet a set of indicators (to be determined). With this opportunity, community leaders and parents can communicate to campus administrators and school board members that they want the fine arts program supported in a manner to earn the distinction recognition. The Commissioner of Education will guide the process, and hopefully arts educators and administrators will help develop the indicators.
Success from Statewide Support
Given the legislative debate leading to its final passage, the outcome of this bill is an incredibly positive one for fine arts education in Texas. Your calls to your representatives ensured they were well aware of the importance of fine arts education for Texas students. Without that support, the version of the bill that passed could have been much different. Thank you for your vigilant attention and support of fine arts throughout this session and for continuing that support in your community.
Check back here as we continue to provide further information about the implementation of these bills. Of course, no bill becomes law until signed by the Governor by June 21. If not signed or vetoed by that date, the bill automatically becomes law.