We are now 13 days away from the end of this legislative session, and numerous education bills remain pending. Much of the attention is focused this week on House committees that have more restrictive deadlines than the Senate for consideration of bills. Specifically, this Saturday is the last day that House committees may report out Senate bills in order to keep them alive in the legislative process. That means a very busy week of hearings as the clock winds down on the 84th legislative session.
Today both the Senate Education and House Public Education committees are meeting to hear major bills with more hearings anticipated this week. First, the Senate Education Committee is hearing the following bills today:
- HB 767 Smith | et al. SP: Hinojosa
Relating to cardiac assessments of participants in extracurricular athletic activities sponsored or sanctioned by the University Interscholastic League.
- HB 771 Deshotel SP: Creighton
Relating to funding for the Texas Academy of Leadership in the Humanities.
- HB 1170 Farney | et al. SP: Lucio
Relating to the applicability to open-enrollment charter schools of certain laws regarding local governments and political subdivisions.
- HB 1474 VanDeaver | et al. SP: Eltife
Relating to the placement of money in the state instructional materials fund and payment of the instructional materials allotment.
- HB 1559 Parker | et al. SP: Taylor, Larry
Relating to public school Internet website information concerning local programs and services available to assist homeless students.
- HB 1706 VanDeaver | et al. SP: Burton
Relating to reducing paperwork and duplicate reports required of a school district.
- HB 1786 Dutton SP: Campbell
Relating to the transfer of driver and traffic safety education from the Texas Education Agency and the Department of Public Safety to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation; changing the amounts of certain fees; amending a provision subject to a criminal penalty.
- HB 2349 Aycock SP: Kolkhorst
Relating to public school assessment, performance standards, and course requirements.
- HB 2610 King, Ken | et al. SP: Taylor, Larry
Relating to the minimum number of minutes of instruction for students to be provided by public school districts and the scheduling of the last day of school for students by public school districts.
- HB 2660 Howard | et al. SP: Watson
Relating to Foundation School Program funding for students enrolled in an optional flexible school day program.
- HB 3106 Huberty | et al. SP: Creighton
Relating to the period of time allowed for appointment of a board of managers for a school district.
The Senate Education Committee will also meet tomorrow, May 19, and Thursday, May 20, to hear additional bills. Wednesday’s Senate Education Committee agenda includes suicide prevention training legislation that ATPE has requested this session and some fairly high-profile bills relating to student testing. Here is the full agenda for Wednesday:
- HB 731 Lucio III SP: Lucio
Relating to a pilot program under the foundation school program for funding prekindergarten programs provided by certain school districts with early high school graduation programs.
- HB 743 Huberty | et al. SP: Seliger
Relating to the essential knowledge and skills of the required public school curriculum and to certain state-adopted or state-developed assessment instruments for public school students.
- HB 1164 VanDeaver | et al. SP: Garcia
Relating to the assessment of public school students in writing and English language arts.
- HB 1171 Farney | et al. SP: Lucio
Relating to the applicability of certain immunity and liability laws to open-enrollment charter schools.
- HB 2186 Cook | et al. SP: Campbell
Relating to suicide prevention training for certain educators and other employees of a school district.
- HB 2251 Anchia SP: Hancock
Relating to an established schedule of payments from the foundation school fund of the yearly entitlement of certain open-enrollment charter schools.
- HB 2593 Price SP: Seliger
Relating to the sparsity adjustment for certain school districts under the Foundation School Program.
- HB 3987 Farney | et al. SP: Garcia
Relating to programs in public schools designed to facilitate planning and saving for higher education and facilitate personal financial literacy instruction.
For Thursday, the Senate Education Committee is currently slated to hear just one bill, but it’s a very significant one: HB 2804 is the accountability overhaul bill by Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock (R) that now includes a requirement that school campuses be rated using “A through F” accountability grades. ATPE opposes the bill, which the House passed late last week.
Meanwhile, the House Public Education Committee today is hearing several bills, including some controversial proposals backed by Texans for Education Reform (TER) to deregulate certain low-performing schools and subject them to alternative management. Those include Sen. Larry Taylor’s (R) SB 14 expanding the state’s existing parent trigger laws and SB 1241 to create “innovation zone” schools. ATPE opposes these bills. Other bills on the committee’s agenda today include the following:
- SB 13 Perry | et al.
Relating to measures to support public school student academic achievement and career preparation, including measures to improve and support dual credit courses and the development of public outreach materials.
- SB 14 Taylor, Larry | et al.
Relating to empowering the parents of students to petition for the reconstitution, repurposing, alternative management, or closure of low-performing public school campuses.
- SB 107 Whitmire | et al.
Relating to the designation of campus behavior coordinators to serve at public school campuses and issues to be considered when removing a student from class.
- SB 168 Uresti
Relating to temporary waiver of superintendent certification for employment of public school district superintendents.
- SB 382 Uresti
Relating to public school educator continuing education credit for instruction on the use of an automated external defibrillator.
- SB 471 Rodríguez | et al.
Relating to reviews and investigations conducted by the Texas Education Agency.
- SB 945 Taylor, Larry | et al.
Relating to funding under the public school finance system for a school district with a compressed tax rate below the state maximum compressed tax rate.
- SB 968 West
Relating to a prescription drug misuse awareness component of the health curriculum used in public schools
- SB 1200 Taylor, Larry | et al.
Relating to the creation of a commission to recommend a new system for student assessment and public school accountability.
- SB 1241 Taylor, Larry
Relating to authority of school districts, home-rule school districts, and open-enrollment charter schools to establish innovation zones and the authority of school districts to obtain designation as districts of innovation.
- SB 1309 Menéndez
Relating to eligibility requirements for issuance of a teaching certificate to an applicant who holds a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps instructor teaching certification.
- SB 1896 Taylor, Larry
Relating to providing public school students tutorials through the state virtual school network for end-of-course assessment instruments required for graduation.
- SB 2062 Watson | et al.
Relating to authorizing certain charter holders to provide combined services for certain adult and high school dropout recovery programs.
Also this week, a couple of bills dealing with educator preparation and certification are set to be heard by the Senate Committee on Higher Education. The committee will meet tomorrow morning, May 20, to hear several bills including HB 1300 by Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R) and HB 2205 by Rep. Myra Crownover (R). Click here to learn more about these two bills in our blog post from last week. Another educator preparation bill, SB 892 by Sen. Kel Seliger (R), remains pending in the House Public Education Committee and could still be voted out. ATPE has opposed that bill since it would lower the standards for entrance into an educator preparation program.
Another bill of great interest to educators is SB 1968 by Sen. Joan Huffman (R), a bill to prohibit school districts and some other public employers from offering their employees the payroll deduction option for paying their association dues. ATPE opposes the bill, which has already passed the Senate and been referred to the House Committee on State Affairs. An attempt was made today to suspend the House rules for notice of hearings in order for the committee to hold a public hearing and take testimony on this bill tomorrow. That motion, which required a two-thirds vote of the House, failed. While the House State Affairs Committee will not be holding a public hearing on the bill, that does not prevent the measure from being voted upon without testimony. Stay tuned to Teach the Vote for updates this week as the deadline approaches.