Emails (excerpted), Lee Nichols, communications director, Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, May 17, 2013
From: Selby, Gardner
Sent: Friday, May 17, 2013 4:26 PM
To: Lee M Nichols
The coordinating board confirms that the law includes the ACT/SAT alternative path to consideration under the top 10 percent law. Would you have anything on this front you’d like us to consider?
W. Gardner Selby
Nichols, 5:35 pm May 17, 2013
Not my final answer, but: Yes, that “path” exists, but it would be more accurate to call it an escape hatch, not a path. The number who would use it is likely miniscule, and we’re trying to track down data to corroborate that. Nobody plans their diploma path to college that way. If you’re plotting a curriculum path (and let’s not forget, that is what this whole discussion is about — based on the discussions you and I have had so far, I’m worried that you’re going to take this piece of statute in isolation, removed from the context), nobody plans to take the minimum plan and then hope for a good test score. In reality, those hoping to qualify for top 10 percent need to take Algebra II.
As a straight-up literal reading of statute, that is correct, but as applied in reality, that provision (which actually is not unique to Top Ten Percent Rule - it exists in many other places in admissions statute) is irrelevant.
The reality is how students get in under the Top Ten percent plan which is through their diploma plan. According to the THECB, the percent below, 99%, is for all enrolled…they stated that although they do not separate the data, it shouldn’t be hard to extrapolate similar numbers for Top Ten Percent. They also confirmed that the provision to which you are referring would only be applicable to students who get in under top ten percent but graduated under the minimum plan. That number is also below. Hence Senator Van de Putte's curriculum concern reflected in her op-ed, which was focused on the reality of how Top Ten Percent is used and how students and families plan a diploma path.
Enrolled Students by Diploma Type