Keller Superintendent Randy Reid was encouraged by what he heard from Texas Legislators in a visit to Austin last week, he told parents at a Feb. 21 Brown Bag Forum at Keller Middle School.This is probably the most open to opinions the Legislature has been in the last decade, Reid said. Im really positive about change occurring and positive about the direction its going, but not positive about the details.Reid went to Austin to testify in favor of House Bill 5 before the House Committee on Public Education, chaired by Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock (R-Killeen). Aycock authored House Bill 5 to include adjustments to the state assessment process, graduation plans and the accountability system.More than 100 people testified over 10 hours on Feb. 19, all but two of them in favor of the bill. Reid was part of a contingent of superintendents who testified, along with a number of parents and students.Legislators are beginning to listen to parents who say were over-testing our kids, Reid said.HB 5 would decrease the number of exams high school students are required to pass to graduate.Under the new State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness, high school students must pass 15 tests to graduate; HB 5 would reduce that to five: biology, algebra I, English II reading, English II writing and U.S. history.The amount of testing required to graduate would be similar to the old Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) exit-level exams, but the tests themselves are more rigorous, Reid said.Another part of HB 5 addresses graduation plans. The state currently has three: the Minimum High School Plan, the Recommended High School Plan and the Distinguished Achievement Plan.With the minimum diploma, graduates are not allowed to attend four-year public universities in Texas. Most students graduate on the recommended plan which requires four years of math and science, with requirements on which classes are necessary for graduation.Reid said he would like to see additional flexibility in graduation paths, with more room for Career and Technology Education classes so students can move towards vocational training and the workforce or make more informed decisions on what they want to study in college.We now live in a world that is more diverse and have a job market that is more diverse with graduation plans that are more narrow, Reid said.HB 5 expands the options on diplomas, allowing students to focus on areas of study like humanities, science, engineering, technology and math or business."House Bill 5 will improve education in Texas by better equipping schools to meet students' individual needs," Aycock said in a press release about the bill earlier this month. "The filing of this bill is the first step in a very important conversation about the quality of both our schools and our workforce."The third part of HB 5 focuses on accountability and would give districts and public schools grades of A through F instead of the current three-tier system.Reid said he did not fully support grading the schools because, just as in the current system, too many factors can cause what may be a good school to appear to be a poor one.Reid gave the example of Caprock Elementary, which was rated academically unacceptable three years ago due to having two too few students in one sub population fail the TAKS fourth grade writing test. The years before and after the low rating, the school achieved exemplary standards.We need broader definitions and to get away from ratings that are not accurate reflections of our schools, he said.