Texas House Public Education committee votes on its first batch of bills
Texas Legislature Curriculum | Instruction School Safety Testing | Accountability
Date Posted: 3/16/2021 | Author: Andrea Chevalier
The Texas House Public Education Committee met today, March 16. It was the committee’s second meeting this session to hear bills, which covered topics such as curriculum, educator preparation, accountability, pre-K, school safety, and more. The committee listened to in-person and virtual testimony and approved three bills that had already been heard last week.
Here are the bills heard today by the committee:
House Bill (HB) 129 by González (D-Clint) would include civics education in the 6th grade social studies curriculum. As originally filed, the bill called for adding digital citizenship to the high school graduation requirements. Rep. González presented a committee substitute version of the bill today that moves that curriculum down to lower grades instead. ATPE supports the bill.
HB 159 by González (D-Clint) would incorporate instruction about teaching and serving students with disabilities into educator preparation and include considerations for inclusive practices in the professional development provided by school districts. ATPE supports the bill.
HB 353 by Dutton (D-Houston) would require that public school accountability data be disaggregated by sex in addition to race/ethnic group. ATPE supports the bill.
HB 445 by Allison (R-San Antonio) is another ATPE-supported bill that would add diversity, equity, and inclusion to the existing standards for character education.
HB 725 by Patterson (R-Frisco) would add children who were in foster care in another state or territory to be eligible for prekindergarten in Texas. ATPE supports the bill.
HB 759 by Harless (R-Spring) would reate a “Student Threat Assessment Database” for students who pose a risk of violence to others. The database could be accessed by certain authorized individuals, including a peace officer, school resource officer, principal or their designee, and superintendent or their designee of any public or private school where the student is currently attending or has attended previously.
HB 785 by Allen (D-Houston) would codify how admission, review, and dismissal committees incorporate student behavior intervention plans (BIP), increase notification requirements to parents regarding BIPs, and require school districts to take actions related to implementing a BIP after a discipline-related change in placement for the student. Rep. Allen presented a committee substitute that includes clarifications and deletes section two of the original bill.
HB 1080 by Patterson et al. (R-Frisco) would ensure UIL rules do not exclude public school students who are receiving outpatient mental health services.
HB 1114 by Thierry (D-Houston) would provide increased options for school districts to provide mental health services to students, particularly through school-based health centers. ATPE supports the bill.
HB 1603 by Huberty (R-Kingwood) would remove the expiration date from the law providing for individual graduation committees so that they can continue to be an option for students in perpetuity. ATPE supports the bill and has urged the Legislature over multiple sessions to remove the expiration date from this law.
The committee voted today to approve three bills that had been heard the prior week:
HB 690 by Metcalf (R-Conroe) would require school board members to take a course on school safety created by the Texas School Safety Center and the State Board of Education.
HB 773 by VanDeaver (R-New Boston), an ATPE-supported bill, would add an indicator into the school accountability system for students who successfully complete a program of study in career and technical education (CTE).
HB 1147 by Huberty (R-Kingwood), an ATPE-supported bill that would add students who enlist in the Texas National Guard to the definition of military readiness, which is part of the College, Career, and Military Readiness Outcomes Bonus authorized last session. The bill was recommended for placement on the House’s Local and Consent Calendar.
All three of the above bills were approved by a committee vote of 11 to zero; Rep. Alma Allen and Ken King were absent during today’s votes.
We expect the House Public Education Committee to meet again next Tuesday. Stay tuned to Teach the Vote for updates. ATPE members are also encouraged to visit Advocacy Central to follow the progress of bills and send messages to their lawmakers about legislation of interest or concern.
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