Notes & Noticias: More Choices, Fewer Tests

Dear Friends,

Education has always been one of my top legislative priorities. We must ensure that all Texans have the training they need to embark on a fulfilling career.

This past session, I proudly co-authored HB 5 and served on the conference committee for the bill, which reduces the number of high-stakes exams and creates curriculum paths more relevant to the real world. HB 5 enables our public schools to better prepare high school students for college or to enter the workforce.

This week’s Notes and Noticias focuses on how AISD is implementing HB 5 to enable children in our community to succeed academically.

If you enjoy my newsletter, please ask your friends to sign up for it on my website.

More Choices, Fewer Tests

Big changes are coming to AISD and public school districts across Texas thanks to HB 5, which passed during last year’s legislative session.

HB 5 requires school districts to offer fewer high-stakes standardized tests from 15 to five, and instead allows students to pursue “endorsements” or areas of concentration in subjects ranging from health science and math to dance and public safety. These endorsements will be noted on the student’s diploma.

The bill also creates three graduation plans with differing credit levels and requirements, so that students may choose the path to graduation that best prepares them for higher education or a fulfilling career.

Community Impact recently published an excellent article that provides even more information about how HB 5 will impact rising ninth graders in AISD, which you can read online here.

Rising ninth graders in AISD will automatically be entered into the most challenging plan; if they want to choose a different graduation plan they can do so but only after consultation with a parent and a guidance counselor. AISD will also offer internships for students pursuing technical degrees within the school district.

Overall, HB 5 offers more opportunity and more flexibility for our students, enabling them to gain a strong academic foundation and build on that to prepare them for what lies beyond graduation.

Get Covered This Saturday!

Bad news: Texas has the highest rate of uninsured residents in the nation. Good news: the Affordable Care Act will benefit our state greatly, and we are lucky to have organizers from Enroll America working hard to spread the word.

This Saturday I’m joining Mayor Lee Leffingwell for a “community day of action” in Dove Springs to help spread the word.

We’ll have an information session on the Affordable Care Act, a community block walk with the Mayor, and on-site enrollment assistance from navigators and certified application counselors. The fun starts at 10:00 a.m.

Get Covered, Austin!
Saturday, February 15 at 10:00 a.m.
Dove Springs Rec Center
5801 Ainez Drive
Austin, Texas 78744
RSVP Online

The deadline for open enrollment in 2014 is March 31. If you need to enroll, visit for more details.

Congratulations Celia!

Yesterday my friend Celia Israel took the oath of office as a member of the Texas House of Representatives.

A more formal event will be held in March, but in the meantime the Austin delegation and I want to welcome the new Representative of Travis County to the Legislature.

I look forward to the good work we will accomplish together.

Remember! Early voting in the 2014 Democratic Primary begins this Tuesday, February 18th and continues through Friday, February 28th. Voters will be required to show a photo ID to vote. Click here for information from about what you can use to vote.

Thanks for reading another edition of Notes and Noticias! I look forward to seeing you in the community soon.