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House to Continue Education Reforms

The Texas House will continue to strengthen college and career readiness in the upcoming legislative session by providing additional training for high school guidance counselors, Speaker Joe Straus said Monday.

The initiative will build on the successes of House Bill 5, a major education reform measure that the Legislature passed unanimously in 2013. House Bill 5 changed high school graduation requirements to allow students more flexibility in their coursework. Students can now tailor their courses to better reflect their own goals for college and career success.

The legislation recognized that in today’s fast-changing economy, there are numerous ways to prepare for productive careers, such as attending a four-year university, a community college or a technical college.

“Two years ago, we enacted reforms that will better prepare students for success after high school,” said Speaker Straus, San Antonio. “Now is the time to build on those achievements. This effort will help educators provide effective guidance to students as they prepare for college and the workforce. That guidance is critical because the economy is consistently and rapidly changing and because many students will be the first in their families to attend college.”

In the upcoming session, the House will propose stipends for high school counselors who receive training focused on the increasingly diverse educational and career options awaiting students.

“Across the state, counselors indicate they want more information to better prepare their students for success after high school, particularly in the workforce area,” said House Public Education Committee Chairman Jimmie Don Aycock, Killeen. “Giving students effective, relevant guidance is a key component of helping them make the most of the opportunities that today’s economy presents.”

The Legislature will convene for its 140-day session January 13. Leading up to the session, Speaker Straus has emphasized the need to practice responsible stewardship, prioritize education and promote economic growth. Meanwhile, House committees have studied a broad range of issues over the last year and are beginning to make policy recommendations to the full House.

Speaker Straus will continue to highlight key priorities in the days ahead.

“The House has spent many months preparing for this session and is ready to get to work,” Speaker Straus said. “We have a responsibility to address the issues that matter most to the continued success of our private sector. Education is at the top of that list and will be a focal point for the House in 2015.”