It’s that time of year again – high school students across Texoma have been picking up their schedules for next year. But thanks to a new law pass by Texas legislatures in May, they might be seeing more electives on those schedules.
State lawmakers decided to give all students a break on some of the classes required to graduate.
"It provides them some other options in their electives, if their interest lies in agriculture it gives them a chance to take that other agriculture course that they might not have been able to fit in,” said principal of Sherman High School Peggy Van Marter.
Students will no longer have to take two semesters of health education and computer technology and a semester of physical education. That means students can enroll in six elective courses instead of just four.
Many parents and students see the changes as positive ones.
"They should have that option to take whatever that's going to better their education," said Kelly Harris, who has a daughter in the 11th grade at SHS.
"I think the idea's better, cause then we'll have more choices and we can take a lot more,” said incoming SHS freshman Kady Hall.
But unlike most education laws that would go apply only to incoming freshman of the next year, this one takes effect immediately and applies to all students, unless a school district has stricter requirements.
"When we let one drop a GPA course and replace it with an AP course that they get more GPA points for, now we're not level,” explained Van Marter. “And so to keep a level playing field… our plan is to institute with those 8th grade this year, incoming 9th grade next year.”
Van Marter thinks the plan should have been phased-in, but she understands where state lawmakers were coming from when passing the new legislation.
"For those schools that are on a seven period day, where in the course of four years those kids only have 28 chances to get their 26 [credits] to graduate, it was creating a little bit of a tough situation,” said Van Marter
But Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, said she has concerns about teen health issues. She had been pushing for more P.E. in public schools to help fight rising obesity rates, and the reduction in P.E. requirements wasn’t ideal.