The Senate Education Committee met Tuesday, May 14, 2019, to continue working on bills that have already been passed by the Texas House. At this point in the session, there are only eight days left for bills to be passed by the full Senate, which means that the committee’s work will be winding down very soon.
Senate Education Committee members heard testimony this morning on the following House bills that are still making their way through the legislative process:
- HB 548 would require that districts and charters report through the public education information management system (PEIMS) various truancy information, including students subject to compulsory attendance requirements, children who fail to enroll or fail to attend without an excuse for 10 or more days within a six-month period, etc.
- HB 680 would require the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to coordinate with the Texas Workforce Commissioner (TWC) on efforts to improve pre-K quality, and assign a PEIMS number to track children under age six enrolled in the commission’s child care program. The bill would allow local workforce development boards to contract with area child care providers to provide subsidized child care services.
- HB 1051 would continue the Excel Goodwill Charter. ATPE supports this bill.
- HB 1131 would create the “Texas Public Finance Authority” to act as a paying agent under current law for the guarantee and payment of bonds. School districts would also be able to borrow money from the new authority.
- HB 1182 would require completion of a personal financial literacy course in order to graduate.
- HB 2210 states that students who receive residential services in a state hospital will not be considered in the accountability rating of the district or campus that the hospital is located in if their parent does not reside in the district. ATPE supports this bill.
- HB 2983 would reduce the number of state-administered assessments and create new contingencies for students who do not achieve satisfactory adjusted scaled scores, as determined by TEA. ATPE supports this bill.
- HB 3904 is the accountability system cleanup bill and would make a number of substantial changes. A strategic staffing component was removed from the bill based upon concerns raised by multiple educator groups, including ATPE, on how this component would link teacher performance to student test scores. ATPE supports this bill in its current form.
- HB 3906 would change references to “reading” in the Texas Education Code to say “language arts.” It would eliminate writing tests in grades 4 and 7, but add writing to the annual language arts tests. The bill includes provisions to accommodate a writing pilot and would allow assessments to be administered in multiple parts over more than one day. ATPE supports this bill.
- HB 4310 would require districts to allow teachers sufficient time to teach a given curriculum and states that districts may not penalize a teacher for failing to follow the scope and sequence timeline if the teacher determines that the students need more learning time.
- HB 4342 would change the composition of the board of directors of the Texas School Safety Center to include a professional architect and three rather than two members of the public.
The Senate Education committee also voted to advance the following pending bills to the full Senate:
- HB 165 would increase equity and the ability of special education students to receive high school endorsements. ATPE supports this bill.
- HB 330 would allow districts to exclude from their reported dropout and completion rates students who have suffered a condition, injury, or illness that requires substantial medical care and leaves the student unable to attend school. ATPE supports this bill.
- HB 391 would require a school district or charter school to provide instructional materials in printed book format if the student does not have reliable access to technology at home, at parental request. Parent requests must be documented and included in an annual TEA report to the legislature. Sen. Beverly Powell (D-Burleson) offered a new committee substitute that would decrease the reporting requirements on districts and TEA.
- HB 396 would allow the instructional materials and technology allotment (IMTA) to be used for inventory software or systems for storing and accessing instructional materials and also for freight, shipping, and insurance.
- HB 455 would require TEA to develop a model policy on recess that encourages age-appropriate outdoor physical activities. ATPE supports this bill.
- HB 678 would allow American Sign Language to count for the graduation requirement of a language other than English.
- HB 1026 would require the State Board of Education (SBOE) to integrate “positive character traits” into the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).
- HB 1244 as filed would eliminate the U.S. History end-of-course (EOC) exam and create an electronic civics test that contains all questions on the U.S. citizenship test in multiple-choice format as a requirement for graduation. In the previous meeting, Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) substituted language from SB 1777, which simply requires the current U.S. History EOC to include 10 questions from the citizenship test.
- HB 2190 would allow a charter located in Corpus Christi to admit a child of a school employee. Sen. Powell offered a new committee substitute that would eliminate the localized bracket and allow any charter school employees around the state to enroll their children.
- HB 2424 would require the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) to propose rules to establish and issue micro-credentials for educators. The agency would approve continuing professional education (CPE) providers to offer micro-credential courses. ATPE supports this bill.
- HB 3007 would require TEA to provide districts with all source data used in computing their accountability ratings.
- HB 963 would add technology applications courses to the career and technical education (CTE) allotment, so that students in those courses would receive the same weighted funding as students in CTE courses.
- HB 1480 would create an accelerated learning committee (ALC) for students who do not perform satisfactorily on third, fifth, or eighth grade reading or math assessments. The bill would allow accelerated instruction to be provided to the student in the following year. The ALC would develop an educational plan for the student. ATPE supports this bill.
- HB 2984 would require the SBOE to add TEKS to the technology applications curriculum related to coding, computer programming, computational thinking, and cybersecurity.