• Accountability Bills Passed by the 2015 Legislature

    HB 18
    Texas Success Initiative (TSI) Results to be Shared with School Districts

    Requires an institution of higher education that administers a TSI test to report to each school district from which assessed students graduated all available information on student scores and performance on the TSI, including student demographic information. Mandates the THECB to adopt rules as necessary to implement these provisions in a manner that complies with various state and federal laws regarding confidentiality or privacy of student information.

    Applies beginning with TSI tests administered to entering undergraduate students for the fall 2016 semester.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately

    Other provisions of HB 18 listed under Curriculum, Staff Development, and the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium.

    HB 1842
    Innovation Zones, Monitoring Reviews, Special Accreditation Visits, Campus Intervention Teams, Campus Turnaround, Student Trustees

    Due to the dense content of HB 1842, the bill is divided into sections by topic.

    Innovation Zones
    Establishes innovation zone designations to allow campuses to develop local initiatives to improve educational outcomes. Allows consideration of such designations to be initiated by board resolution or by a petition signed by a majority of a district-level committee. Outlines other aspects of the process and procedures for innovation designation.

    Establishes eligibility for participation that requires a school district’s most recent performance rating to be at least “acceptable.” Requires a district’s local innovation plan to include innovative curriculum, instructional methods, and provisions regarding community participation, campus governance, and parental involvement. Allows exemption from certain state laws, similar to flexibility provided to charter schools. Limits a campus designation as an innovation zone to no more than five years. Addresses amendment, rescission, renewal, and terminations by the commissioner and allows the commissioner to adopt rules.

    Monitoring Reviews
    Replaces the term “on-site investigations” with the term “monitoring reviews,” and aligns corresponding terminology. Expands the commissioner’s authority to determine the frequency of monitoring reviews based on a variety of factors. Allows TEA to obtain information from administrators, other district employees, parents, and other persons as necessary, and requires the commissioner to adopt rules on how the information may be obtained. Applies these changes to the Texas School for the Deaf and the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Permits a monitoring review to include desk reviews and on-site visits. Allows the commissioner to convert a monitoring review to a special accreditation investigation on prompt notification to the district of the conversion.

    Special Accreditation Visits
    Requires TEA to adopt written procedures for conducting special accreditation visits, including procedures that allow TEA to obtain information from employees in a manner that prevents a district or campus from screening the information. Mandates the procedures be available on TEA’s website. Allows the commissioner to impose interventions and sanctions on the basis of a special accreditation visit.

    Campus Intervention Team
    Requires a campus intervention team to conduct a public meeting at the campus with the principal, the campus-level planning and decision-making committee, parents, and community members to review the campus performance rating and solicit input for the development of the targeted improvement plan. Mandates that the team provide written notice of the date, time, and place of the meeting to parents and post notice on the campus website.

    Campus Turnaround
    Replaces the terminology “reconstitution” and “repurposing” with the terms “campus turnaround plan,” “board of managers,” “alternative management,” and “closure.”

    Requires, after two years of unacceptable performance, the commissioner to order the campus to prepare and submit a campus turnaround plan. Outlines parties that must help in preparing the plan and the required notice to stakeholders. Mandates that the plan include details on the method for restructuring, reforming, or reconstituting the campus. Allows the district to request help with the plan from a regional education service center or institution of higher education.

    Requires the turnaround plan to take effect not later than the school year following the third consecutive year that the campus has received an academically unacceptable performance.

    Mandates that if the commissioner determines that the campus will not satisfy all student performance standards in a specified time period, the commissioner must order appointment of a board of managers, alternative management, or closure.
    Mandates that if a campus receives unacceptable ratings for three consecutive years after the order to submit a turnaround plan, the commissioner must order appointment of a board of managers or closure of the campus.

    Provides specific criteria for repurposing a campus after the commissioner orders closure. Addresses issues related to a board of managers and alternative management.

    Requires the Legislative Budget Board to publish a report evaluating the implementation of these changes, including an analysis of whether the changes resulted in improvements to school and student performance.

    Applies beginning with the academic performance ratings issued with the 2015-16 school year.

    Student Trustees for Certain Districts
    Establishes a bracketed school district in which the school board may adopt a resolution that creates a non-voting student trustee position if the district has a campus subject to a turnaround plan. Provides that an eligible district have a central administrative office in a county with a population of more than 2 million, with student enrollment between 125,000 and 200,000.

    Mandates the board adopt a policy that establishes the term, selection procedures, and removal procedures of a student trustee. Requires the board to also adopt policy regarding student trustee participation in board deliberations and access to information and records consistent with FERPA. Allows a student trustee to earn not more than one academic course credit in a subject area determined by the district.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately

    Other provisions of HB 1842 listed under Charter Schools.


    HB 2804
    Accountability System Redesign, Campus/District A-F Ratings, etc.

    Due to the dense content of HB 2804 the bill is divided into sections by topic.

    Accountability System Redesign
    Replaces the four indices used to rate public schools with five weighted domains that include new indicators of achievement.
    Requires the commissioner to adopt a set of indicators of the quality of learning and achievement that measure and evaluate school districts and campuses with respect to improvements in student preparedness for subsequent grade levels and the workforce, reduction of differentials in student academic achievement levels, and information shared with parents and the community regarding performance in the five domains. Requires that performance on the indicators be compared to state standards defined annually by the commissioner.

    First Domain
    Mandates the first domain be based solely on various state test results.

    Second and Third Domains
    Requires the second and third domains to be based on student growth and closing gaps between student groups. Mandates that the first through third domains account for 55 percent of the performance evaluation rating.

    Fourth Domain
    Mandates that the fourth domain evaluation be divided into three categories.

    Establishes high school campuses and school districts that include high school campuses as the first category. Requires the high-school-related evaluation to consist of non-test measures, such as rates for dropout and completion, and high school graduation. Adds other non-test measures to consider such as percentage of students who satisfy Texas Success Initiative college readiness benchmarks, earn industry certifications, enlist in the military, take AP courses, and other specified items.

    Establishes elementary school as well as middle and junior high school campuses as the second category of evaluation. Requires the second category to include student attendance. Mandates that for middle and junior high school campuses other considerations include dropout rates and percentage of students in grades 7 or 8 who receive instruction in preparing for high school, college, and a career as specified in the bill.

    Establishes the third category to include any additional indicators of student achievement not associated with STAAR performance determined appropriate for consideration by the commissioner in consultation with educators, parents, business and industry representatives, and employers.

    Assigns a weight of 35 percent of the performance evaluation to the fourth domain. Mandates that for high school campuses and districts that include those campuses, 10 percent of the evaluation be attributed to the high school graduation rate indicator and 25 percent to the remaining applicable indicators.

    Fifth Domain
    Assigns a weight of 10 percent of the performance evaluation to the fifth domain to measure parent and student engagement (part of the accountability system introduced in HB 5, 83rd Legislature) based on a district-selected subset of three programs or specific categories of performance. Requires districts and campuses, before the beginning of each school year, to post on their websites and report to TEA the three community and student engagement categories or programs they have selected for use in the state accountability ratings. Mandates the criteria that districts used to evaluate performance and the actual letter ratings that were then assigned to each of the three subsets also be posted on the districts’ websites and reported to TEA.

    Campus/District A-F Rating Implementation
    Requires the commissioner to assign a temporary performance rating, which has yet to be determined, to each district and campus not later than August 15, 2016. Requires the commissioner, beginning with the 2017-18 school year, to assign each district and campus an overall performance rating based on an A-F scale. Mandates that the commissioner also assign to each district and campus a separate letter grade for each of the five domains. Requires the letter rating to be assigned by August 15 of each year thereafter. Note: Under HB 5, 83rd Legislature, the A-F district ratings were to begin in 2016-17. HB 2804 pushed back implementation to 2017-18. States that a letter rating of A, B, or C is considered acceptable, and a rating of D or F is considered unacceptable. Prevents districts from receiving an overall or domain rating of A if any campus in the district has received a corresponding domain or overall letter grade of D or F.

    Commissioner Rules Regarding Domain Ratings
    Requires the commissioner, by rule, to adopt procedures to ensure that a repeated performance rating of D or F or unacceptable in one domain is reflected in the overall performance rating of a district or campus and is not compensated for by a rating of A, B, or C in another domain.

    Evaluation of Dropout Recovery Schools
    Revises evaluation of dropout recovery schools under the new accountability procedures adopted by the commissioner to use only the best results of a state test or any retake of a state test within the same school year. Allows only a student enrolled continuously for at least 90 days at a campus during a school year to be considered in a dropout recovery school’s evaluation.

    New Accountability/Assessment Commission and the THPSC
    Requires the establishment of the Texas Commission on Next Generation Assessments and Accountability to develop and make recommendations for new systems of student assessment and public school accountability. Mandates the commission be composed of 15 members (including an educator in a school district that participates in the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium [THPSC]), including 10 members appointed: by the governor (four), the lieutenant governor (three), and the speaker of the House (three). Requires the commission to deliver its report that recommends statutory changes to the governor and Legislature by September 1, 2016. Mandates that the commission consider the THPSC’s recommendations related to innovative, next-generation learning standards and assessment and accountability systems when preparing the commission’s report. Abolishes the commission January 1, 2017.

    Applies this section with the effective date of this bill (immediately).

    Alignment of New Language
    Modifies other statutory language as necessary to refer to the amended provisions and reflect the changes, e.g., references to “student achievement indicators” are changed to “achievement indicators” or “academic achievement indicators.”

    Repeals current Education Code Sections 39.053(e) and 39.054(b), (d), (d-1) related to “required improvement” and “85 percent” provisions as well as the commissioner’s ability to consider alternative performance criteria under special circumstances.

    Commissioner Deadlines
    Requires the commissioner to adopt the new set of indicators not later than December 1, 2016.

    Requires the commissioner, not later than January 1, 2017, to submit a report to specified members of the Legislature that includes information on:

    1. The ratings that each school district and campus would have received for the first through fourth domains for the 2015-16 school year if the indicators existed during that school year.
    2. Correlations between each letter performance rating the district or campus would have received and the percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch and are students of limited English proficiency. Also requires the report to include percentages of students at each campus and district disaggregated by race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.

    Applies beginning with the 2017-18 school year except as otherwise provided in the bill.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately

    Other provisions listed under Texas High Performance Schools Consortium.

    HB 3106
    Appointment of a Board of Managers for a School District

    Allows the commissioner of education to extend the authority of a board of managers, if, before the second anniversary of the date the managers were appointed, the commissioner determines, after receiving local feedback, that insufficient progress has been made toward improving the academic or financial performance of the district.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately

    SB 149
    Individual Graduation Committees for Certain Students

    Applies to a grade 11 or 12 student who has failed to comply with the EOC performance requirements for not more than two courses. Requires a district to establish an individual graduation committee (IGC) for each qualifying student at the end of or after the student’s 11th grade year to determine whether the student may qualify to graduate.

    Mandates the IGC be composed of several specified parties: the principal or designee; the teacher of each course for which the student failed to perform satisfactorily on the EOC and the department chair or lead teacher supervising that teacher; and as applicable, the student’s parent or person standing in parental relation, or a designated advocate if the parent or person standing in parental relation is unable to serve, or the student, at the student’s option, if the student is at least 18 years old or is an emancipated minor. Requires the school district to provide an appropriate translator for a person who is unable to speak English. Requires the commissioner to establish procedures for appointing an alternative member, if necessary, except that districts must establish such procedures for the 2014-15 school year.

    Requires the superintendent to establish procedures for convening an IGC. Mandates that the district ensure a good faith effort to a timely notification of the parent or other appropriate person of the time, place, and purpose of the IGC meeting. Requires the notice to be clear and easy to understand, given in person or by mail, and in English, Spanish, or, to the extent practicable, the recipient’s native language.

    Establishes eligibility requirements for graduation that include a student’s successful completion of the curriculum requirements identified by the SBOE under Texas Education Code, Section 28.025(a) (requirements for the Foundation High School Program) or as otherwise provided by the transition plan adopted by the commissioner under 28.025(h)(transition plan for replacing the Minimum, Recommended, and Advanced graduation programs). Mandates that the student’s IGC recommend additional requirements by which a student may qualify to graduate, including remediation, and for each EOC on which the student fails to perform satisfactorily, completion of a project or preparation of a portfolio of work samples that demonstrate proficiency in the subject area. Allows a student to submit coursework previously completed to satisfy a recommended additional requirement.

    Requires the IGC, in determining whether a student is qualified to graduate, to consider the following 15 items or categories of information about the student:

    1. recommendation of the teacher of the pertinent course
    2. grade of the pertinent course
    3. score on each EOC on which the student failed to perform satisfactorily
    4. performance on any additional IGC-recommended requirements
    5. number of hours of remediation attended by the student, including a college preparatory course or transitional college course in reading or math
    6. school attendance rate
    7. satisfaction of any Texas Success Initiative college benchmarks.
    8. successful completion of a dual-credit course in English, math, science, or social studies
    9. successful completion of a pre-AP, AP, or IB program course in English, math, science, or social studies
    10. rating of “advanced high” on most recent TELPAS
    11. score of 50 or greater on a CLEP exam
    12. score on ACT, SAT, or Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Test
    13. completion of a sequence of CTE courses needed to attain an industry-recognized credential or certificate
    14. overall preparedness for postsecondary success
    15. other academic information designated for consideration by the IGC

    Provides that after considering these criteria, the IGC may determine that the student is qualified to graduate. Mandates that a student for whom an IGC is established may graduate and receive a high school diploma only if the student successfully completes all additional requirements recommended by the IGC, meets the curriculum requirements, and the IGC’s vote is unanimous.

    Requires the commissioner to establish, by rule, a timeline for making a determination. (Districts must establish the timelines for the 2014-15 school year.) Establishes that these provisions do not create a property interest in graduation, and the IGC’s decision is final and may not be appealed.

    Requires that, notwithstanding any action taken by an IGC, a district must administer an EOC exam to any student who fails to perform satisfactorily as provided by Section 39.025(b) (education code that allows a student to retake an EOC exam if the student did not achieve satisfactory performance on it). States that for purposes of Section 39.053(c)(education code that allows a student to earn a diploma after successfully retaking an EOC), this is considered an assessment required for graduation retaken by a student.

    Adds a requirement that each school district report through PEIMS the number of students each school year for whom an IGC is established and the number awarded diplomas based on IGC decisions. Requires a district to report the information by December 1 of the school year following the year the student is awarded a diploma. Mandates that TEA include this information on its website.

    Provides that a student who, after retaking an EOC exam for Algebra I or English II, has failed to perform satisfactorily, but who receives a proficient score on the Texas Success Initiative exam for that subject, satisfies the EOC requirement.

    States that an open-enrollment charter school is subject to the same IGC requirements as other public schools.
    Requires the commissioner to adopt rules necessary to implement these provisions by the 2015-16 school year. Provides that these provisions expire September 1, 2017, except that reporting requirements expire September 1, 2018.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately

    SB 1867

    Adult Students Receiving Special Education Services and Completion Rates

    Requires the commissioner, in computing completion rates, to exclude students who are at least 18 years of age as of September 1 of the school year as reported for the fall semester PEIMS submission and have satisfied the credit requirements for high school graduation, have not completed their Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), and are enrolled and receiving IEP services.

    Applies beginning with the 2015-16 school year.

    Earliest effective date: Immediately