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Texas House passes bill extending alternative high school graduation route

The Texas House on Monday passed a bill extending a program that lets students who fail a couple of required exams take an alternative route to graduation.

State Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, discusses a bill in the Texas House on May 3, 2017.

The House passed a bill Monday allowing high school students who fail one or two standardized tests to take an alternative route to graduation.

On a voice vote, members approved Senate Bill 463, which would extend an existing program allowing high school students who fail required state tests and end-of-course exams to graduate as long as they go through a special committee that agrees they are academically prepared. The Legislature established the committees in 2015 as part of the backlash against high-stakes standardized testing but included a clause causing the program to expire in September.

The Senate's version of the bill would have extended the program until 2019 — which upset critics of high-stakes testing who wanted a permanent extension.

Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, who sponsored the bill, successfully proposed an amendment extending the program until 2021. "This is a very important amendment requested by a very important constituent, namely my wife and son," he said. Huberty's son, who is dyslexic, might end up using the program to graduate someday, the representative has previously said.

After a final vote in the House, the bill will go back to the Senate, where the upper chamber will decide whether to accept the amendment.

Read related Tribune coverage:

  • A House Public Education Committee hearing became heated when Huberty had a harsh exchange with a witness speaking against SB 463.
  • The Senate passed SB 463 in early May.

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Public education State government 85th Legislative Session Texas Legislature