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The House Public Education Committee in the Texas Legislature has come under criticism this week for unanimously approving a bill that would take the teeth out of the end-of-course exams to be introduced next school year, as reported by the Dallas Morning News. The committee gave as its rationale a desire to give more control to local school districts, many of which appear to have requested a delay in introducing the new tests because of budget cuts.

According to the Dallas Morning News, “If the full House approves the legislation, it would put the chamber at odds with the Senate, where the chairwoman of the education committee, Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, has promised there will be no retreat on the end-of-course tests in high school or the new State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness in middle and elementary schools.”

The bill’s passage into law seems unlikely, but its very proposal is a reminder of the inherent tension between high standards and high graduation rates.

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Sarah Butrymowicz oversees and contributes to The Hechinger Report’s investigative and data work covering all levels of education, from early childhood to K-12 to higher education. She has worked at...

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