The Stephenville ISD board of trustees met Monday to hear a report on House Bill 5, a new graduation plan, but rejected approving a plan that would consist of four social studies credits.
Stephenville High School principal Travis Stilwell gave the report on the changes to the school's curriculum, which will take effect at the beginning of the 2014-15 school year.
The foundation program, which is the core requirements for every student to graduate, calls for four credits of english language arts and three credits in mathematics, science and social studies among other classes.
Stilwell asked the board to consider approving a local requirement which would include a fourth social study class, world history, to join the other three which are U.S. history, U.S. government/economics and world geography.
"After a lot of consideration we feel strongly that it's important for our students to have all four of these social studies classes," Stilwell told the board.
If the district were to add a required fourth social study class, then students would lose an elective, dropping the elective count to four, which didn't sit well with several board members.
"I personally think we shouldn't have world history as a requirement," said board member Scott Osman. "We have young kids in 8th grade who don't know what they want to do with their life yet. I would be in favor of keeping the five open credits because I'm not in favor in minimizing electives. It seems like we're boxing in their decisions."
Board member Gary Sult also spoke saying, "House Bill 5 created this so there is flexibility. In my opinion the more simplified we can make the foundation requirements and provide that flexibility then I think we're following the direction of the intent in which the plan was developed."
Stilwell said he respected the board's decision, but did issue a warning that it could come with some problems.
"Hearing at least three leaning one direction, there could and probably will be ramifications with this decision," he said. "And please understand that when it happens."
Stilwell went on to recommend the board require the four years of social studies as a local requirement, but no motion was made for a vote, leaving the original makeup of the House Bill 5 Foundation Program as is, with only three required social studies credits.
"Based on the new House Bill 5 legislation, high schools across Texas are all struggling with whether or not to require four social studies credits for graduation," Superintendent Dr. Darrell Floyd said Tuesday. "Some districts are requiring four, other districts are just requiring three. Our board has chosen to require only three social studies credits under the new graduation plan to allow for an additional elective possibility for the students."