Texas House Public Education Committee recap from April 20, 2021
School Finance Educator Preparation | Certification Texas Legislature Curriculum | Instruction Testing | Accountability
Date Posted: 4/21/2021 | Author: Andrea Chevalier
The Texas House Public Education Committee met Tuesday, April 20, to consider 26 new bills on topics such as civics and bilingual education, reading academies, school finance, working conditions, and more.
Here are the bills heard by the committee, including several that ATPE supported:
- HB 278 by Canales (D-Edinburg) is an ATPE-supported bill that would require the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to review the criminal history of each person appointed to serve on a board of managers for a school district.
- HB 424 by King, K. (R-Hemphill) would require the State Board of Education (SBOE) to review and revise the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) to narrow the number and scope of required content standards. The bill would also make changes to how the SBOE issues proclamations for instructional materials.
- HB 517 by Beckley (D-Carrollton) is an ATPE-supported bill that would require districts to adopt a policy on custodial workloads.
- HB 586 by Cole (D-Austin) would create the Texas Public Finance Authority that districts could use for loans, debt obligations, and bonds.
- HB 605 by Gervin-Hawkins (D-San Antonio) would require school districts to adopt a healthy and safe school water plan.
- HB 1206 by Guillen (D-Rio Grande City) would allow the Instructional Materials Allotment (IMA) to be used for costs associated with distance learning, including Wi-Fi, hotspots, network service, broadband services, and other services and equipment needed to facilitate internet access.
- HB 1302 by Guillen is an ATPE-supported bill that would update the school accountability system to include additional indicators in the student achievement domain, such as high school students who earn a diploma in 3.5 years or less and students in the gifted and talented program who skip a grade.
- HB 1613 by Lopez (D-San Antonio) is an ATPE-supported bill that would extend the Reading Academies deadline to not later than the 2023-24 school year. The committee substitute for the bill would also exempt new teachers who demonstrated proficiency on the Science of Teaching Reading (STR) exam from being required to complete the Reading Academies.
- HB 1726 by Allison (R-San Antonio) is an ATPE-supported bill that would require districts and charters to annually report data through the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) on bullying incidents, including cyberbullying.
- HB 1744 by Guerra (D-Mission) is an ATPE-supported bill that would require TEA to develop a program of study for students pursuing a career teaching bilingual education, English as a second language (ESL), or Spanish. The bill also creates a financial incentive program to prepare educator certification candidates in these subject areas.
- HB 1754 by Hernandez (D-Hernandez) is an ATPE-supported bill that would require student identification cards for grades 6 and above to include contact information for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
- HB 2258 by Guerra is an ATPE-supported bill that would require TEA, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and the Texas Workforce Commission to develop a strategic plan to improve and expand bilingual education, including increasing the number of educators certified in bilingual education instruction and the number of dual language immersion/one-way and two-way program models used in public schools.
- HB 2688 by VanDeaver (R-New Boston) would require any school board trustee to run for reelection in the next scheduled election if the trustee voted to extend the contract of a superintendent and then voted within one year to make a severance payment to the same superintendent.
- HB 2721 by Lucio III (D-Brownsville) would prohibit a student from participating in University Interscholastic League (UIL) activities if they assault a referee, judge, or other official in retaliation for that person's actions.
- HB 2769 by Campos (D-San Antonio) would require the SBOE to adopt curriculum standards for coding video games within the technology applications TEKS for K-12.
- HB 2846 by Coleman (D-Houston) is an ATPE-supported bill that would require schools to provide notice to parents if they do not have a full-time or full-time equivalent nurse on campus.
- HB 3033 by Klick (R-Fort Worth) would add a PEIMS reporting requirement on emergency detentions (when person is transported to an emergency medical service provider or mental health facility).
- HB 3456 by White (R-Hillister) is an ATPE-supported bill that would close a loophole in the school finance system that caused some educational entities, such as the Windham School District, the Texas School for the Deaf, and the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, to be subject to mandatory 5% budget reductions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rep. White noted that a committee substitute for the bill would also include the Goodwill Adult Education Charter School.
- HB 3489 by Parker (R-Flower Mound) would require TEA and the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to develop and distribute health and safety guidelines for the use of digital devices in schools.
- HB 3862 by VanDeaver would expand the ability of a school board of trustees to remove a member of the board.
- HB 3888 by Morales Shaw (D-Houston) is an ATPE-supported bill that would allow a teacher under a term contract to resign at any time during a state of emergency or disaster or pandemic declared by the World Health Organization (WHO). The committee substitute presented by Rep. Morales Shaw also included educators working under probationary and continuing contracts.
- HB 4042 by Hefner (R-Mt. Pleasant) would require public school students to participate in UIL activities and events as aligned with their sex assigned at birth.
- HB 4124 by Hinojosa (D-Austin) would allow special purpose school districts to prioritize military-connected students in enrollment.
- HB 4198 by Slaton (R-Royse City) is an ATPE-supported bill that would allow districts the option to exempt students from taking non-federally required assessments.
- HB 4509 by Bonnen (R-Friendswood) would change the objectives of public education and required curriculum to incorporate concepts of informed patriotism.
- HB 4525 by Gates (R-Richmond) is an ATPE-opposed bill that would require the SBOE to approve any career and technical courses that are offered online or through an internet portal and to update the list of approved courses at least annually.
The House Public Education Committee is expected to meet again Friday, April 23, to vote on bills, and the committee will likely hear new bills again next Tuesday, April 27. With major session deadlines quickly approaching, ATPE encourages members to use Advocacy Central to contact their lawmakers about bills of concern.
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HB 1613 by Lopez (D-San Antonio) is an ATPE-supported bill that would extend the Reading Academies deadline to not later than the 2023-24 school year. The committee substitute for the bill would also exempt new teachers who demonstrated proficiency on the Science of Teaching Reading (STR) exam from being required to complete the Reading Academies. What about adding to a teacher''s salary for all of the hours required to complete the Reading Academy?