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Texas lawmakers to vote on education overhaul

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TWC News: Texas lawmakers to vote on education overhaul
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Students in Texas could see some big changes to education in the near future.

"From day one we came in with really three goals, and that was to reduce the number of STAAR tests, to create flexibility in our graduation pathway with an emphasis on career and college and three, to pass a strong charter bill," said Sen. Dan Patrick.

Two top education policy writers announced Saturday they negotiated a deal that accomplishes those goals.

"I think we've met the right place of rigor and flexibility, which hasn't been an easy balance to find," said Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock.

The agreement cuts the number of standardized tests high school students must pass to graduate from 15 to five.

It also reduces course requirements to promote flexibility for college readiness or a more career-based path. That’s an issue Gov. Rick Perry and some in the business community have fought, wanting to maintain the state's current high school diploma standards.

Those include four years of English, Science, Math and Social Studies.

"I think the Governor rarely guarantees what he will or won't veto," Aycock said, but he believes they've come a long ways toward the governor's goals.

Part of the education agreement also increases the cap on charter schools from 215 to 305 by 2019.

That’s an issue where Patrick said he had to compromise.

"I would have liked to have seen the cap totally lifted, but I'm one out of 181 members," he said.

And a majority of those lawmakers must agree to the education overhaul bills come Sunday night.

Sunday is the deadline to pass all bills remaining in the state legislature. Both the Senate and House are set to take up these education overhaul bills before the deadline expires.

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