• Curriculum

    HB 18
    Aycock
    Dual Credit, Instruction in High School, College, and Career Preparation, and Public Outreach Promoting Curriculum Changes

    Dual Credit
    Prohibits THECB rules from limiting the number of dual-credit courses or hours in which a student may enroll while in high school or each semester of an academic year.

    Joint High School and Junior College Credit Courses
    Requires a course offered for joint high school and junior college credit to be taught by a qualified instructor approved or selected by the junior college. Prescribes the minimum degree requirements for an instructor to be qualified that includes holding:

    1. a doctoral or master’s degree in the discipline that is the subject of the course
    2. a master’s degree in another discipline with a concentration that required completion of a minimum of 18 graduate semester hours in the discipline that is the subject of the course
    3. other specified qualifications, if the person is a teacher of a course that is offered in an associate degree program not designed for transfer to a baccalaureate degree program

    Mandates that by the 60th day after receipt, a public junior college approve or reject an application to teach a course at a high school that is submitted by an instructor employed by the school district, organization, or other person who operates the high school with which the junior college entered into an agreement to offer the course.

    Amends the Labor Code to allow funds to be awarded from the skills development fund to a school district to be used under an agreement with a lower-division institution of higher education to support courses offered for joint high school and college credit.

    Instruction in High School, College, and Career Preparation
    Requires each school district to provide instruction to students in grades 7 or 8 in preparing for high school, college, and a career. Mandates that the instruction include information on the creation of a high school personal graduation plan, the distinguished level of achievement, each endorsement, college readiness standards, and potential career choices along with the education required for those choices.

    Allows a district to provide the instruction as part of an existing course in the required curriculum, as part of an existing CTE course, designated by the SBOE as appropriate for that purpose, or in a new elective course. Requires a district to ensure that each student receive this instruction at least once in grades 7 or 8.

    Applies beginning with the 2015-16 school year.

    Public Outreach Promoting Curriculum Changes
    Requires TEA to develop uniform public outreach materials that explain the importance and outline the details of public school curriculum changes (made under HB 5, 83rd Texas Legislature). Mandates the materials be made available in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese. Requires the materials to be in a form that can be mailed and that they include an explanation of the basic career and college-readiness components of each endorsement, the curriculum requirements for automatic college admission, and applicable course, graduation plan, and endorsement requirements for financial aid, including particular grant and loan programs. Requires TEA to develop these materials by December 1, 2015, and expires this section September 1, 2018.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately

    Other provisions listed under Accountability, Assessment, Staff Development, and the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium.


    HB 440
    Gonzales, Larry
    Adapting Physical Education for Mentally Disabled Students

    Requires the PE curriculum to meet the needs of students who have a disability, including a student who is a person with a disability described under Texas Education Code Section 29.003(b) or through criteria developed by TEA in accordance with that section.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately

    HB 505
    Rodriguez, Eddie
    Prohibition of Limitation on Number of Dual-Credit Courses or Hours

    Prohibits the commissioner or the THECB from adopting a rule limiting the number of dual-credit courses or hours in which a student may enroll while in high school, the number of dual-credit courses or hours in which a student may enroll each semester or academic year, or the grade levels at which a student may be eligible to enroll in a dual-credit course.

    Applies beginning with the 2015-16 school year.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately

    HB 731
    Lucio III, Eddie
    Pre-K Funding Enhancement Linked to Three-Year High School Diploma Program

    Adds an adjustment in the Foundation School Program for certain school districts with early high school graduation programs by establishing a pilot program that enables the state to evaluate the benefit of providing additional funds at the pre-K level for low-income students.

    Requires the commissioner to provide pre-K funding to a school district located in a county that borders Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico. Mandates that the commissioner provide funding for a district’s pre-K program on a half-day basis for a number of low-income students equal to twice the number of students who received, as a result of participation in an early high school graduation program operated by the district, a high school diploma from the district during the preceding school year after three years of secondary school attendance. Allows the commissioner to adopt rules.

    Earliest effective date: September 1, 2015


    HB 743
    Huberty
    TEKS Review

    Requires the TEA to study the TEKS of the required (foundation) curriculum, STAAR tests, and EOC exams. Mandates that the study evaluate: the number and scope of the TEKS and whether either should be limited; the number and subjects of STAAR tests in grades 3-8; and how assessments assess standards essential for student success and whether they should also assess supporting standards.

    Mandates TEA to report the results of its study to the SBOE by March 1, 2016. Requires the SBOE to review the study and submit to the governor and each member of the Legislature TEA’s report and SBOE recommendations regarding each issue evaluated.

    Applies beginning with the 2015-16 school year.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately

    Other provisions listed under Assessment.

    HB 1430
    King, Susan
    Inclusion of Mental Health in the Public Service Endorsement

    Requires TEA to ensure that information provided to students related to health science careers include information on mental health professions. States that to the extent the Public Services Endorsement includes information on health science career pathways, the information must include mental health careers as a possible pathway.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately

    HB 1431
    King, Susan
    Development of Optional Career-Oriented Foreign Language Program

    Requires the SBOE, in consultation with the commissioner of higher education and business and industry leaders, to develop an advanced language course that a school district may use to instruct students in industry-related terminology that prepares them to communicate in a language other than English in a specific professional business, or industry environment.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately

    HB 1613
    Guillen
    Alignment of TEKS with College Readiness Standards

    Requires the SBOE, by January 1, 2016, to develop and adopt by rule, a chart that clearly indicates the alignment of the college readiness standards and expectations with the TEKS.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately

    Other provisions listed under Assessment.

    HB 1786
    Dutton
    Transfer of Driver and Traffic Safety Education

    Amends various statutes to transfer the driver and traffic safety education program from TEA and the Department of Public Safety to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

    Earliest effective date: September 1, 2015

    HB 1992
    Zerwas
    Advanced Placement (AP) Scores for Undergraduate Course Credit

    Prohibits an institution of higher education from requiring a score of more than three on an AP exam for granting course credit unless the institution’s chief academic officer determines, based on evidence, that a higher score is necessary to indicate that a student is sufficiently prepared to be successful in a related, more advanced course.

    Requires the THECB and others to conduct a study on the performance of undergraduate students at institutions of higher education who receive undergraduate course credit for achieving required scores on one or more AP exams. Mandates that the study compare academic performance rates, retention rates, and graduation rates of students who complete a course at an institution and of students who receive AP credit for that course for a score of three or more, disaggregated by score. Requires the THECB to submit reports to various state officials by January 1, 2017, and 2019.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately

    HB 2025
    Gonzales, Larry
    Three-Year High School Diploma Plan Pilot Program

    Allows participation in the three-year high school diploma plan pilot program by a district with an enrollment of more than 5,000 but less than 7,000 students and located primarily in a county that contains the headwaters of the San Gabriel River.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately

    HB 2812
    Springer
    Repeal of Dual-Credit Limit and Calculation of ADA

    Repeals the limit on the number of dual-credit courses in which students can enroll under certain circumstances.
    Allows the commissioner to approve off-campus instructional programs provided by an entity other than a school district or open-enrollment charter school as a program in which student participation may be counted for ADA purposes. Mandates the commissioner adopt by rule verification and reporting procedures concerning time spent by students in these instructional programs. Provides that, subject to these rules, time that a student participates in an approved off-campus instructional program shall be counted as part of the minimum number of instructional hours required for a student to be considered full time under ADA.
    Earliest effective date: Immediately

    HB 3987
    Farney
    Higher Education Savings Programs and Personal Financial Literacy

    Allows a school district or open-enrollment charter school to establish a school-based savings program to facilitate increased awareness of the importance of saving for higher education and to facilitate personal financial literacy instruction. Permits the program to be offered in conjunction with a personal financial literacy course.

    Allows a school-based savings program to promote general savings and savings for higher education by offering various types of accounts through partnerships with appropriate institutions. Addresses the establishment and function of these partnerships with financial institutions and with public sector partners, private businesses, nonprofit organizations, and philanthropic organizations.

    Amends other sections of code as necessary to exclude these accounts from assets considered in determining a student’s eligibility for a TEXAS grant or other state-funded financial assistance, including assistance under Human Resources Code, Chapters 31, 32, and 33. Specifies the amount of the exclusion in the amended sections of code.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately


    SB 968
    West
    Prescription Drug Misuse Awareness Component of TEKS

    Requires the SBOE to adopt essential knowledge and skills for the health curriculum that address the dangers, causes, consequences, signs, symptoms, and treatment of nonmedical use of prescription drugs. Mandates that the TEA compile a list of evidence-based prescription drug misuse awareness programs from which a school district may choose to use in its middle, junior high, and high school health curricula.

    Applies beginning with the 2015-16 school year.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately

    SB 972
    Kolkhorst
    Reading-to-Learn Academies for Teachers (Grades 4-5)

    Requires the commissioner to develop and make available reading-to-learn academies for teachers who provide reading comprehension instruction to students in grades 4 and 5. Specifies the academy must satisfy select criteria regarding the training and resources provided.

    Requires that the commissioner adopt criteria for selecting teachers to attend an academy. Mandates that the commissioner grant priority to teachers employed by a district at a campus at which 50 percent or more of the students are economically disadvantaged, and requires the provision of a process through which a teacher not employed at such a campus may attend the academy if there is available space and the employing district pays the cost.

    Provides appropriated funds by which a teacher who attends an academy is entitled to a stipend as determined by the commissioner. Prevents the stipend from being considered in determining whether the district is paying the teacher the minimum monthly salary.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately

    SB 1004
    Bettencourt
    Harris County Junior College Dual Credit

    Allows a public junior college with a service area located wholly or partly in a county with a population of more than 3 million to enter into an articulation agreement to provide a dropout recovery program with any school district located wholly or partly in a county with a population of 3 million.

    Requires a public junior college with a service area located wholly or partly in a county with a population of more than 3 million to enter into an agreement with each school district located wholly or partly in a county with a population of more than 3 million to offer one or more joint high school and junior college credit courses. Allows a student enrolled in a school district within the service area to enroll in a course.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately

    SB 1259
    Rodriguez
    Teacher Input Into an Individualized Education Program (IEP)

    Amends the statewide plan for the delivery of services to children with disabilities to ensure that each school district develops a process to be used by a teacher who instructs a student with a disability in a regular classroom setting to provide input in the development of the student’s IEP. Provides that if a committee is required to include a regular education teacher, the regular education teacher included must, to the extent practicable, be a teacher responsible for implementing a portion of the child’s IEP. Requires that the written statement of the IEP must document the committee’s decisions on issues discussed at each committee meeting. Provides requirements for the statement’s content. Allows each committee member who disagrees with the IEP developed to include a statement of disagreement.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately