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House Public Education Committee Passes Accountability Commission Bill, Several Other Important Bills

05.21.2015 — The House Public Education Committee met Thursday, May 21, and voted out the following bills, which now go to the full House for consideration:

  • SB 13 by Charles Perry, et al., as passed by the Senate, would prohibit the commissioner and the Higher Education Coordinating Board from adopting a rule that would limit the number of dual-credit courses or hours in which a student could enroll while in high school or each semester or academic year. The bill would require each school district to provide instruction — as part of any existing course or a new course — to students in grades seven and eight on preparing for high school, college, and a career. (The committee voted out a substitute bill for which the language was not yet available.)
  • SB 107 by John Whitmire, et al. would require that a person at each campus be designated to serve as campus behavior coordinator. The person could be the principal or any other campus administrator selected by the principal. The coordinator would be primarily responsible for maintaining student discipline and the implementation of Chapter 37, Subchapter A.
  • SB 168 by Carlos Uresti would allow the commissioner to waive the requirement for certification of a superintendent if requested by a district. A person who is not certified could not be employed before the person has received a waiver. A person could be designated to act as temporary or interim superintendent without certification or waiver.
  • SB 313 by Kel Seliger would establish procedures for the SBOE to review and modify the TEKS in the foundation subjects (English language arts, math, science, and social studies) by narrowing the content and scope of the standards and skills for each subject and grade level. (The committee voted out a substitute bill for which the language was not yet available.)

  • SB 382 by Carlos Uresti would require SBEC to adopt rules allowing an educator to receive continuing education credit for completing a course on the use of an automated external defibrillator.

  • SB 471 by Jose Rodríguez, et al., as passed by the Senate, would modify current law related to on-site investigations by TEA.
  • SB 507 by Eddie Lucio, et al. would require school districts and open-enrollment charter schools to provide equipment, including a video camera, to each school in which a student receiving special education services in a self-contained classroom is enrolled. After notifying parents, each school would place, operate, and maintain one or more video cameras in each self-contained classroom in which a majority of the students in regular attendance are provided special education and related services and assigned to a self-contained classroom for at least 50 percent of the instructional day. (Amendments are expected to be made to this bill on the House floor.)
  • SB 674 by Donna Campbell would require that any minimum academic qualifications for educator certification that require a person to possess a bachelor’s degree must also require that the person receive instruction regarding mental health, substance abuse, and youth suicide.

  • SB 892 by Kel Seliger would amend law related to educator preparation programs and certification exams. In addition, it would increase the number of hours of field-based experience required before a district could employ a candidate for certification and would require that the candidate be actively engaged in instructional and educational activities in the classroom. (The committee voted out a substitute bill for which the language was not yet available.)
  • SB 968 by Royce West would require the SBOE to adopt essential knowledge and skills for the heath curriculum that address the dangers, causes, consequences, signs, symptoms, and treatment of nonmedical use of prescription drugs.

  • SB 1200 by Larry Taylor, et al. would establish the Texas Commission on Next Generation Assessments and Accountability to develop and make recommendations for new systems of student assessment and public school accountability. The commission would be composed of 15 members with several representing specific interests and appointed by the governor, the lieutenant governor, and the speaker of the House, and others representing the SBOE and the education committees in both houses of the Legislature. The commission would develop recommendations to address several specific issues. It would consider the recommendations of the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium in preparing its report of recommended statutory changes, which it would deliver to the governor and the Legislature by September 1, 2016. The commission would be subject to the Open Meetings Act and the Public information act and would be abolished January 1, 2017.
  • SB 1241 by Larry Taylor would allow, with commissioner of education approval, the governing body of an ISD, home-rule school district, or open-enrollment charter school to establish a multiple-campus innovation zone to achieve several objectives: encourage local community-based initiatives to improve education outcomes with minimum state and local requirements; enable collaboration by multiple campuses, programs, and institutions of higher education; and encourage innovation through shared resources and facilities. Campuses would have to have at least an acceptable performance rating to participate in an innovation zone.
  • SB 1309 by Jose Menéndez, as passed by the Senate, would allow SBEC to issue a certificate to an applicant who holds a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps instructor teaching certification issued by the U.S. Department of Defense, Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps, and meets other requirements. SBEC could not impose certain degree requirements on such an applicant. (The committee voted out a substitute bill for which the language was not yet available.)

  • SB 2062 by Taylor Watson, et al. would authorize certain charter holders to provide combined services for certain adult and high school dropout recovery programs.