Gov. Rick Perry today applauded efforts made this legislative session to set the bar even higher to ensure all Texas students are prepared for both college and career, bolstering our state's world-class, skilled workforce. Texas continues to be a national leader with regard to our school accountability system, curriculum standards, and expectations of rigor in our graduation requirements. The governor signed Senate Bill 441 and House bills 5, 809, 842, 2201 and 3662.
"This session, I emphasized the need to expand the opportunities for success available to all Texas students. The legislation I signed today strikes a balance between our need for rigorous academic standards and a student's need for flexibility, and between accountability and an appropriate level of testing in the classroom," Gov. Perry said. "We are improving workforce readiness and expanding and developing career and technical education courses to better guide students from the high school or college classroom into careers with the most job opportunities."
Students across Texas have diverse goals and unlimited opportunities, from community college, military service, university or a career. The governor understands the need for flexibility to provide accountable and rigorous options for our students, ensuring they are prepared for whatever goal they choose to pursue.
"I thank Gov. Perry for his leadership in emphasizing the importance of education for the future of Texas," Commissioner Williams said. "As a state, we should never apologize for striving to get more of our students into college. However, all students should finish high school in position to make a choice about the best course for their future. Legislation, no matter how well intentioned, does not educate one student. Ultimately, it is up to educators, parents, and students to do the work and make the gains we all hope to see."
Through initiatives like the Texas Fast Start Program, which uses competency based learning to allow students to more quickly receive degrees and certificates in high demand fields, and the Texas Workforce Innovation Needs Program, which allows school districts and institutions of higher education to establish innovative career programs that lead to a technical certificate or associate degree, Texas students will be better prepared for the demands of today's workforce.
"Ideally, HB 5 will open up an unprecedented era of cooperation between K-12 and higher education," Commissioner Paredes said. "In order for HB 5 to succeed, local school districts, community colleges and universities must work together to develop rigorous and relevant courses to prepare high school students for post-secondary education. And both sectors must cooperate to provide the academic counseling needed so that ninth-graders and their families can make informed decisions about their chosen academic pathways."
"It's well known that Texas has a strong economy, with 326,000 jobs added over the last year and growth across all major industries," Commissioner Alcantar said. "These bills offer additional opportunities for students to graduate ready for post-secondary success, while providing innovative approaches to equip our workforce with the skills needed in the dynamic occupations being created by Texas employers."