The Texas Education Agency released draft rules Oct. 17, 2013, that provide the specifics of the Foundation High School Program, which will replace the state's current three graduation programs in 2014-15. The draft rules list the courses required for each of the program’s endorsement areas, provide specifics on the requirements to earn a distinguished level of achievement, and more.

Read the full text of the Foundation program draft rules.

The State Board of Education directed TEA to draft the rules following a public hearing in September in which educators and other stakeholders provided input on the new graduation requirements, which are required by the 2013 Legislature’s HB 5.

The SBOE instructed TEA staff that the draft rules should:

  • Require students to complete four related courses, often in a coherent sequence, to earn an endorsement. (Read more about the Foundation program endorsements as outlined by the Texas Legislature in HB 5.)
  • Require students seeking any endorsement to complete Algebra II.
  • Require students to complete chemistry and physics to earn a STEM endorsement.
  • Require students to complete English IV and both World History and World Geography to earn an arts and humanities endorsement.
  • Require students to complete a speech class to graduate. (This is also required under current SBOE rules.)

Algebra II requirement

The requirement that students complete Algebra II to earn any of the endorsements comes despite much testimony at the September hearing in opposition to that. TCTA speculates that it was included to draw more feedback on the issue and plans to testify against this requirement at a November public hearing on the draft rules, as the Algebra II requirement was discussed at length during legislative deliberations on HB 5 and was not the intent of the bill.

Opportunity for public comment

The SBOE will hold a public hearing Nov. 20 at TEA headquarters in Austin to obtain public input on the draft rules. 

The rules will then go before the SBOE for an initial vote during the board’s Nov. 21-22 meeting and for a final vote in January 2014.

In related news, proposed rules related to the transition to the Foundation program also have been posted for public input, which must be submitted by Oct. 28, 2013. These rules list the requirements that currently enrolled high school students (those who entered high school prior to 2014-15) must meet to switch to the Foundation program. Learn more.