Senate Education Committee continues hearing House bills
Date Posted: 5/10/2019 | Author: Mark Wiggins
The Senate Education Committee met Thursday morning, May 9, to hear another docket full of bills that have already passed the House. Committee members heard testimony on the following items:
- HB 76, which would allow parents the option of participating in an echocardiogram (ECG) or electrocardiogram (EKG) screening program for any student participating in a University Interscholastic League (UIL) activity that currently requires a physical examination. School districts would be required to provide information about the availability of the tests and would able to partner with a nonprofit to provide the service or could pay for the service themselves.
- HB 165, which would increase equity and the ability of special education students to receive high school endorsements. ATPE supports this bill.
- HB 330, which 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, which 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.
- HB 396, which 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, which would require the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to develop a model policy on recess that encourages age-appropriate outdoor physical activities. ATPE supports this bill.
- HB 678, which would allow American Sign Language to count for the graduation requirement of a language other than English.
- HB 963, which 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 1026, which would require the State Board of Education (SBOE) to integrate "positive character traits" into the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).
- HB 1480, which 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 and provide assistance to student. ATPE supports this bill.
- HB 2190, which would allows a charter located in Corpus Christi to admit a child of a school employee.
- HB 2424, which 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 2984, which would require the SBOE to add TEKS to the technology applications curriculum related to coding, computer programming, computational thinking, and cybersecurity.
- HB 3007, which would require TEA to provide districts with all source data that was used in computing their accountability ratings.
- HB 4205, which would allow repurposed campuses to be operated in partnership with certain nonprofits that have a successful record of operating a campus or charter.
- HB 1244, which 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. 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.
The committee also voted to advance the following bills:
- HB 18, which is an omnibus school mental health bill that would include evidence based practices to address the achievement of certain student groups, and encourage positive behavior interventions and support, such as grief informed and trauma informed care. The bill calls for implementation of comprehensive school counselling services and adds detail to the training required of school counselors. Sens. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), Pat Fallon (R-Prosper), Bob Hall (R-Edgewood), and Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) voted against the bill.
- HB 65, which would require districts to report information on out-of-school suspensions.
- HB 109, which would allow charter schools to have a holiday on Memorial Day. ATPE supports this bill.
- HB 111, which would create educator training requirements on recognizing the abuse and maltreatment of students with severe cognitive disabilities. ATPE supports this bill.
- HB 674, which would require that regional education service centers gather information from districts and report on which state mandates districts report are burdensome and expensive. The House committee substitute for this bill eliminated reporting on federal mandates.
- HB 906, which would create a “collaborative task force on public school mental health services” charged with studying current practices, training, and impact. The task force would include parents, administrators, institutions of higher education, and foundation people, but not necessarily educators. The task force would have broad power to request information from school districts.
- HB 1597, which would allow a student whose parent or guardian is active-duty military to establish residency for the purpose of admission to public schools. The bill would make charters subject to law.
- HB 1734, which would strengthen the law requiring a school district that has successfully sued because a contractor did a poor job to use the settlement to fix the building and pay the state its required portion of the settlement. The bill would allow the attorney general to fine a district that does not spend the money as required.
- SB 2312, which would subject Harris County Schools to a Sunset review, but without the option to abolish the agency.
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