July 01, 2019 | Blog, Special Education, Students

In a World Where High School and College Degrees are Everything and Hard Work is Often Overlooked

By Victoria Elliott, Associate

In a world where high school and college degrees are everything and hard work is often overlooked, students in special education or those students who struggle to pass end-of-year assessments are already at a disadvantage.  In the past, these students could not graduate high school with an endorsement if they were on modified curriculum or could not graduate at all if they failed the end-of-year assessments. However, this legislative session changed everything.

The Texas Legislature passed, and the Governor recently signed, House Bill 165 to allow special education students, including those on a modified curriculum, to be able to graduate with an endorsement on their transcript. This is incredibly significant, as most Texas universities require students to receive an endorsement before they will be considered for admission.  As part of the requirement, the ARD committee for a special education student on modified curriculum will have to determine if the curriculum they are receiving is sufficiently rigorous.  Further, the bill allows for special education students, with or without modified curriculum, to be able to graduate with an endorsement on their transcript without having achieved satisfactory performance on end-of-course assessments, if the ARD committee determines that it is not necessary to pass.

But wait, don’t stop there!  The Texas Legislature also passed, and the governor recently signed, Senate Bill 213 to continue to allow general education students who fail, no more than two, end-of-course exams to be able to graduate.  The previous law allowing students to be able to graduate regardless of failing, no more than two, end-of-course exams was set to expire on September 1, 2019. Now, the law has been amended to expire on September 1, 2023.   The requirements for allowing these students to graduate has stayed the same.  First, an individual graduation committee must be established. Next, the student must have completed all other requirements for graduation.  Lastly, the committee will need to determine what other requirements need to be met in place of passing the end-of-course exams that were not satisfactory.  For the student to graduate, the plan decided by the committee will have to be followed through.

These laws have truly helped students who are special needs or may be struggling to, at the very least, receive their diploma, and for special needs students to receive it with an endorsement.  Hopefully, the law for general education students will continue to be amended after it expires.  We will see what the future has to hold.

If you should have additional question regarding these two bills or the law concerning graduation requirements, please do not hesitate to contact any of the attorneys at Leasor Crass for assistance.

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