January 2021 Committee on Instruction Item 3

Proposed Approval of Innovative Courses

January 29, 2021

COMMITTEE ON INSTRUCTION: ACTION
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION:  ACTION

SUMMARY: This item recommends approval of innovative courses that do not fall within any of the subject areas of the foundation or enrichment curriculum. 

STATUTORY AUTHORITY: Texas Education Code (TEC), §28.002(f).

TEC, §28.002(f), authorizes local school districts to offer courses in addition to those in the required curriculum for local credit and requires the State Board of Education (SBOE) to be flexible in approving a course for credit for high school graduation.

The full text of statutory citations can be found in the statutory authority section of this agenda.

PREVIOUS BOARD ACTION: The SBOE adopted 19 TAC §74.27, Innovative Courses and Programs, to be effective September 1, 1996, with amendments to be effective September 1, 1998, and December 25, 2007. In November 2019, the SBOE adopted additional amendments to 19 TAC §74.27 to be effective December 25, 2019.

From May 1998 through July 2003, the SBOE approved a total of 45 new innovative courses that do not fall within any of the subject areas of the foundation or enrichment curriculum through the annual approval process. In May 2004, July 2007, July 2009, January 2011, January 2012, January 2013, and July 2014 the SBOE approved the renewal of innovative courses in addition to approving new courses. In April 2005, April 2006, May 2008, May 2010, and April 2014 the SBOE approved renewal of innovative courses. In July 2010, the SBOE approved one new course. In April 2015, the SBOE approved for a period of five years three expiring course series submitted for renewal. In April 2016, the SBOE approved one new course for a period of three years and one new course for a one-year period. The SBOE approved for a period of five years each the renewal of three expiring innovative courses in November 2016. At the January-February 2017 meeting, the SBOE approved for renewal two expiring innovative courses for a period of five years, and at the April 2017 SBOE meeting, the SBOE approved for renewal three additional courses for a period of five years each. At the June 2017 SBOE meeting, the SBOE approved two new courses for a period of five years each. At the April 2018 SBOE meeting, the SBOE approved one new course for a period of five years. At the January-February 2019 SBOE meeting, the SBOE renewed one course for a period of three years and granted one course a one-year extension. At the April 2019 SBOE meeting, the board approved for renewal two courses for a period of three years and one course for a period of five years. At the June 2019 SBOE meeting, the board approved renewal of one course for a period of three years and one new course for a period of two years. The board approved renewal of eight innovative courses for a period of five years at the January 2020 SBOE meeting. At the June-July 2020 SBOE meeting, the SBOE renewed ten courses for a period of five years and granted one new course a two-year approval.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND JUSTIFICATION: After the board adopted new rules concerning graduation requirements, the experimental courses previously approved were phased out as of August 31, 1998. As a result of the adoption of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), districts now submit new requests for innovative course approval for courses that do not have TEKS.

The process outlined in 19 TAC §74.27 provides authority for the commissioner of education to approve discipline-based courses, but reserves for SBOE review and approval those courses that do not fall within any of the subject areas of the foundation or enrichment curriculum.

A brief description of the courses submitted for SBOE review and consideration will be provided to SBOE members at the January 2021 meeting. If approved, the recommended effective date for the courses would be August 1, 2021. With the approval of the local board of trustees, the courses would be available for school districts' use beginning with the 2021-2022 school year.

MOTION TO BE CONSIDERED: The State Board of Education:

Approve the innovative courses that do not fall within any of the subject areas of the foundation or enrichment curriculum as shown in the separate exhibit.

Staff Members Responsible:    
Monica Martinez, Associate Commissioner, Standards and Support Services
Shelly Ramos, Senior Director, Curriculum Standards and Student Support

Attachment:              
Text of 19 TAC §74.27, Innovative Courses and Programs

Separate Exhibit:      
Innovative Courses Recommended for Approval
(to be provided at the January 2021 SBOE meeting)