Many Texans are beginning to worry about loopholes in the new high school curriculum requirements put forth in the last legislative session. Authorities noticed too late that a student can load up on “enrichment” classes (electives) such as physical education (including the enriching subject of cheerleading), as opposed to something in physics or math, to meet graduation requirements.
Under the new requirements there are no limits to the number of physical education classes a student can take, although one can only imagine the most masochistic student wanting to game the system by taking 7 PE credits -- one required and six electives -- out of the 26 required for graduation.
The bill with the new requirements was initially adopted to allow for students to have more control over determining some courses while maintaining a high standard of core requirements.
“It … gives students more flexibility in choosing their other courses, so they can deepen their understanding of areas that interest them, enriching their education and future, and maybe even staying in school longer,” Gov. Perry said at the ceremonial signing.
The state board of education is meeting this week to discuss whether it will limit the number of easy-A physical education courses a student takes, but currently it seems they’re just kind of hoping students won’t attempt the maximum.
"I don't think it occurred to anybody that a student might take seven PE courses to meet graduation standards. We didn't sit around and discuss how to game the system," House Public Education Committee Chairman Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands, author of the legislation told the Dallas Morning News. "But I don't think it's going to happen.”
Holly LaFon has written and worked for various local publications including D Magazine and Examiner.