Texas Senate Education Committee hears bills on educator training, curriculum, and more at April 8 meeting
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Date Posted: 4/08/2021 | Author: Mark Wiggins
The Texas Senate Committee on Education met Thursday, April 8, to consider roughly a dozen bills, including one aimed at streamlining educators’ training and continuing education requirements.
The committee began the morning by hearing Senate Bill (SB) 1267 by Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas), which among other things would eliminate some duplicative training requirements in state law. The bill is the result of a collaborate working group involving ATPE and other stakeholders that met over the interim. ATPE supports this bill.
The committee also heard testimony on the following bills:
- SB 369 by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham), which would allow a parent to opt their child out of the requirement to fill out a free application for federal student aid (FAFSA) in order to graduate.
- SB 462 by Sen. Eddie Lucio (D-Brownsville), which would allow transportation allotment funds to be used to deliver food and instructional materials to students. The pandemic saw many districts utilize school vehicles, including buses, to deliver these items to students learning from home. ATPE supports this bill.
- SB 785 by Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe), which would standardize the expiration date of school marshal licenses.
- SB 1063 by Sen. Carol Alvarado (D-Houston), which would allow a student to take a course in personal financial literacy and economics in lieu of the existing economics course required for graduation.
- SB 1356 by Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), which would allow the creation of a tutor program to match retired teachers with students who request tutoring services.
- SB 1522 by Chairman Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood), which would set limits on the education commissioner’s ability to “hold harmless” school district funding during a calamity.
- SB 1536 by Chairman Taylor, which is the “cleanup” bill for HB 3 (2019), the major school finance reform bill passed by the Legislature last session.
- SB 1615 by Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), which would allow adult charter schools, notably the Goodwill school, to expand to a maximum of six campuses.
- SB 1696 by Sen. Angela Paxton (R-McKinney), which would order the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to coordinate the anonymous sharing of information concerning cyber-attacks or other cybersecurity incidents between public and private schools.
- SB 1697 by Sen. Paxton, which would create a “parental option for student retention” allowing a parent or guardian to elect to have their child repeat a grade or course.
- SB 1776 by Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels), which would require each high school to provide an elective course on the founding principles of the United States and allow public posting of the Declaration of Independence and other American founding documents in school buildings. A companion bill, House Bill (HB) 1776, was heard Tuesday by the House Public Education Committee, as ATPE Lobbyist Andrea Chevalier reported here.
- SB 2026 by Chairman Taylor, which would add informed patriotism to the educational objectives for public schools laid out in the Texas Education Code.
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