More than 100 Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce members and education advocates Friday learned about House Bill 5, which restructures the state’s public education system.
District 54 state Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, presented information about the bill he authored at a luncheon at Central Texas College.
“There is narrative out there that we are dumbing down education,” Aycock said after handing out a third-grade math problem and explaining there is much more learning going on in schools. “Don’t tell me we are dumbing down education.” The bill lowers the number of tests required for high school students, revises graduation requirements, and provides school districts a way to expand career and technical education programs, Aycock said.
“House Bill 5 was about making some major changes to Texas education and those changes will have a far-reaching effect,” he said.
By allowing districts flexibility to expand career and technical education programs, the measure will grant students the ability to investigate fields other than those that require college educations.
“There is nothing wrong with being an auto mechanic, and we need to train them to be a really good auto mechanic,” Aycock said.
Such a move increases the opportunities of students after graduation, said Robert Muller, Killeen Independent School District superintendent, who was at the luncheon.
Changes in the graduation testing system reduce end-of-course exams from 15 to five, Aycock said.
“For the last 20 years, we have based everything we do on high-stakes testing,” Aycock said.
Aycock admitted the bill is not a “silver bullet” for fixing all the state’s education problems, but it was a start.
“Do you have room for improvement? Yes,” Aycock said. “Do you have a strategy? We have a strategy.”
Aycock, the chairman of the House Public Education Committee, said the committee probably will focus on discipline and conduct during the next legislative session.