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"Achievement School District" proposal is resurrected

Teach the Vote
Teach the Vote

Date Posted: 5/22/2013 | Author: Jennifer Mitchell, CAE

As is often the case in the waning days of a legislative session, a bill presumed dead has been resurrected in the form of an amendment to another bill. In the 11th hour (literally) of Senate floor debate tonight, Sen. West successfully converted his bill, SB 1718, to a floor amendment that was added to House Bill (HB) 2836 by Rep. Bennett Ratliff (R–Coppell). SB 1718 was the bill to create a privately-managed, statewide Achievement School District (ASD) for certain campuses with unacceptable academic accountability ratings. West's bill died in the House earlier tonight because of a procedural technicality. Prior to becoming a vehicle for the ASD amendment, Ratliff's bill had been aimed at reducing standardized testing for grades three through eight; it now becomes a much more convoluted piece of legislation. On the Senate side, HB 2836 has been sponsored by Sen. Dan Patrick, who was also a vocal proponent of the controversial ASD idea from the start. Patrick accepted West's floor amendment without hesitation, and the SB 1718 language was added to the Ratliff bill without a record vote. Ratliff will soon have an opportunity to ask his colleagues in the House either to vote to concur in the Senate's drastic changes to his testing bill or else to have HB 2836 sent to a conference committee. We hope that Ratliff will reject the addition of this highly controversial privatization scheme to his bill that would otherwise make great strides toward reducing the overemphasis on standardized testing in public schools. Stay tuned for updates on the continuing saga of the ASD legislation this session, and keep following @TeachtheVote on Twitter for the latest education news from the Capitol.


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