Controversial "Achievement School District" bill dies on a technicality
Date Posted: 5/22/2013 | Author: Jennifer Mitchell, CAE
The good news: Senate Bill (SB) 1718 relating to the Achievement School District (ASD) was defeated today, thanks to a point of order after a bunch of very difficult votes. Several representatives, including Rep. Armando Walle (D–Houston), raised points of order against the bill, challenging it on procedural grounds, and Rep. Walle’s point of order was sustained. With tonight’s midnight deadline for hearing Senate bills on second reading, this move kills the controversial bill, which ATPE opposed. The bill called for placing certain campuses rated academically unacceptable under the ASD and hiring charter management companies to operate the schools. SB 1718 would have taken away the management authority of locally elected school boards, stripped educators in those schools of their employment rights and exempted the ASD from many of the quality standards imposed by state law. The disturbing news: During House debate, all attempts to amend SB 1718 in order to provide additional quality control measures for this privatization experiment were defeated. This includes floor amendments to require class-size limits, student/teacher ratios of 15 to 1, certified teachers and master teachers, and even amendments to prevent waivers allowing teachers to teach outside of their subject areas. The majority of House members chose to agree with the bill’s author and House sponsor, voting to give the commissioner of education maximum flexibility in these schools—even the flexibility to do the opposite of what research and common sense have proven to increase student achievement. We appreciate all those who took the time to call their representatives and warn them about the dangers of this bill. We also thank the House members who attempted to amend SB 1718 and those who raised points of order in an effort to keep this harmful legislation from being passed.
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