Senate Education Committee promises teacher bill of rights, pay raise
Texas Legislature Educator Rights Curriculum | Instruction TEA | Commissioner | SBOE Educator Compensation | Benefits Testing | Accountability
Date Posted: 3/01/2023 | Author: Mark Wiggins
The Texas Senate Committee on Education vowed to pass a pay raise and a “teacher bill of rights” in its first meeting of the 2023 legislative session.
New committee Chair Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) made the promise during Wednesday’s organizational hearing, which featured invited testimony from a pair of classroom teachers and Texas Education Agency (TEA) Commissioner Mike Morath.
Teachers testified that educators have been burning out due to the mounting burdens placed on the teaching profession. Citing surveys conducted by school districts, Creighton suggested teachers are most interested in feeling more supported in their work and making schools safer.
Morath spent the lion’s share of his testimony advocating for statewide instructional materials currently under development by TEA and a third-party vendor. Morath contended that providing newer teachers with off-the-shelf lesson plans would free up teachers’ time.
Several committee members asked the commissioner about burdens placed on educators and schools by House Bill (HB) 4545, passed by the 87th Legislature in 2021 and which requires accelerated instruction for students who perform poorly on the STAAR test.
Morath suggested the Legislature could ease the administrative burden imposed by HB 4545 by eliminating the requirement for accelerated learning committees and defaulting to the minimum standards outlined in the law. He also suggested districts could be allowed some outcomes-based flexibility in structuring accelerated instruction as another way to address efficiency and burnout concerns relating to HB 4545 implementation.
In response to a question from Sen. Mayes Middleton (R-Galveston) about districts moving to four-day weeks, the commissioner said the proposal has generally been shown to negatively affect student achievement.
The committee then recessed to adopt rules for the Subcommittee on Higher Education. The subcommittee will review and vote on higher education bills before referring them to the full committee for a final vote.
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