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Senate Committee on Education Votes Out Senate Sub for HB 22 on A-F, Hears Many House Bills

05.18.2017 — The Senate Committee on Education met Thursday, May 18, to hear public testimony on a long list of House bills.

Chairman Larry Taylor laid out a substitute bill for HB 22 (Huberty), which, as passed by the House, would: delay implementation of the A-F system to August 2019; require “what if” performance ratings to be issued in 2017 and 2018; reduce the five domains of achievement indicators to three; assign A-F grades to each of the three domains but eliminate the overall A-F grade for schools/districts; reduce the weight of standardized tests from 55 to 50 percent; and change the performance rating of “D” to reflect performance “in need of improvement.”

The substitute bill (see the bill text) would keep the language from the House-approved bill related to the number of domains (a minimum of three), but otherwise it would mirror SB 2051 (Taylor), which awaits consideration by the full Senate.

SB 2051, as voted out of the Senate Committee on Education, would: add a fourth domain called "Closing the Gaps" to the A-F accountability system to ensure disaggregation of data (the original bill reduced the number of domains from the current five to three); add the percentage of students who finish a coherent sequence of fine arts courses as an indicator in the school climate domain; add a new section titled "extracurricular and co-curricular" that requires the commissioner to study the feasibility of adding a related indicator; and give the commissioner rule-making authority to impose more severe interventions and sanctions for schools/districts receiving ratings of F.

While the Senate committee substitute for HB 22 would not include a fourth domain, it would include "Closing the Gaps" information in domains one and two. Like SB 2051, the substitute for HB 22 would not include a delay in implementation of A-F, would require an overall rating for schools/districts, and would not differentiate between D and F grades (although Chairman Taylor noted that might be changed).

At the end of the hearing, the committee voted out the committee substitute for HB 22, sending it to the Senate floor.
Other bills on which public testimony was heard include:
  • HB 61 (Guillen) would add the academic performance of students formerly receiving special education services to Accountability Domain IV for elementary and middle and junior high school campuses. The bill also adds the academic performance of students formerly receiving special education services to the postsecondary readiness distinction designation. (This bill was voted out of committee at the end of the meeting. It was sent to the local and uncontested calendar.)

  • HB 156 (Raymond) would create a pilot program for two high schools in certain municipalities. The two high schools participating in the pilot program would have the option to place students into a JROTC program when students have committed a behavior that would normally require or permit a placement/assignment to a DAEP or a JJAEP.

  • HB 441 (Martinez) would prohibit schools from offering instruction on Memorial Day. For districts for which classes on Memorial Day would be necessary to meet the required instructional minutes for the year (due to makeup for inclement weather, for example), the bill directs the commissioner of education to authorize a waiver that would reduce the minute requirement to allow the schools to remain closed on this day.

  • HB 755 (Parker), which went through the House Ways and Means Committee, would allow education foundations in Denton County to make charitable donations to adjacent schools.

  • HB 1081 (Arévalo) would expand NIFA to students attending school in a renovated or repurposed facility or a leased facility operating for the first time as an instructional facility.

  • HB 1342 (Parker) would add more detail and a reporting requirement to the current requirement that school districts provide child abuse anti-victimization programs in elementary and secondary schools. The bill would require each school district to include in those programs annual, age-appropriate, research-based child sexual abuse prevention training. It would require districts to submit a description of the training on their website or in handbooks distributed to parents. It would require TEA to compile a list of training programs for districts to use in providing the training. The bill would also require each school district to submit to TEA a report on the number and percentage of students enrolled in the district who attended the training during the preceding school year.

  • HB 1560 (Guillen) would remove an obsolete reference regarding open-enrollment charter schools and the SBOE in the Education Code.

  • HB 1593 (Bohac) would amend the Education Code relating to the High Quality Prekindergarten Grant program to specify that family engagement strategies established by TEA in collaboration with other state agencies and educational entities must include programs and interventions that engage a family in supporting a student's learning at home.

  • HB 1669 (Tracy O. King) would allow a school district board of trustees to not address a complaint that the board receives concerning a student’s participation in an extracurricular activity that does not involve a violation of certain student rights. The bill does not affect a claim brought by a parent under the IDEA. TASA registered in support of the bill.

  • HB 1886 (Miller) would require screening or testing of all students for dyslexia upon enrollment in kindergarten and testing each student in the first grade at the end of the school year. The bill would require each regional ESC to employ a dyslexia specialist and would specify persons eligible for the position. The bill would require TEA to annually develop a list of training opportunities that comply with the knowledge and practice standards of an international organization on dyslexia and enable an educator to understand and recognize dyslexia and implement certain evidence-based instruction. The bill would require at least one training opportunity to be available online.

  • HB 2010 (Greg Bonnen) would require TEA to collect and make available to school districts on request information on workplace safety training information for use in the public school curriculum. It would allow a district to develop a workplace safety program.

  • HB 2039 (Huberty) would require SBEC to create an early childhood certificate focusing on pre-K through grade 3. It specifies that teachers would not have to hold such a certificate to be employed by a school district to teach those grades. The bill would specify eligibility for a certificate and require SBEC to develop instruction for the certificate in consultation with faculty members who provide instruction at institutions of higher education in certain education preparation programs.

  • CSHB 2442 (Ken King) would: allow districts to report either minutes or hours or instruction; require school districts to notify the commissioner of their decision; and provide stable funding for charters that were affected by the minutes of instruction bill from 2015. The Senate Education Committee substitute that was laid out includes language from SB 1660, a similar bill.

  • HB 2537 (Guerra) would require that school counselors provide information to certain foster students regarding the availability of education and training vouchers and tuition and fee waivers to attend institutions of higher education.

  • HB 2614 (Huberty) would give school districts discretion (rather than require them) to administer college preparation assessment instruments to public school students at state cost.

  • HB 2623 (Allen, et al.) would require school districts assist a student enrolled in the district in making the transition back to school after being in a DAEP, a JJAEP, a residential program or a facility operated by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, a residential treatment center, or a public or private hospital for a period equivalent to 30 instructional days or more during the school year. The bill would require each school district to develop and implement a personalized transition service plan for each applicable student. The bill would require TEA to give annual written notice to each facility of the facility's duty related to the provisions of the bill.

  • HB 2729 (Lucio III) would require TEA), Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), and Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) to jointly develop and post on their websites by September 1, 2018 an inventory of industry-based certifications and credentials that may be earned by public high school students through a career and technical education program and that meet certain criteria. The bill would require the agencies to annually update the inventory and provide a copy of the inventory to school districts and public institutions of higher education that offer career and technology education programs.

  • HB 2782 (Wilson) would require the commissioner of education to ensure that the method used to evaluate performance of school districts and campuses in the state accountability system is implemented in a manner that provides the mathematical possibility that all districts and campuses receive an A rating.

  • HB 3075 (Huberty) would exclude students detained at a county pre-adjudication or post-adjudication juvenile detention facility from the computation of dropout and completion rates for purposes of public school accountability.

  • HB 3270 (Bohac) would require fingerprinting and criminal background checks for contractors and subcontractors hired to provide construction or maintenance work on public works projects for school districts, open-enrollment charter schools, and shared services arrangements (with certain conditions and exceptions).

  • HB 3632 (Moody) would eliminate the timeline for certain parents (those serving in the armed forces, etc.) to request a special education due process hearing under certain circumstances.

  • HB 3706 (Lucio III) would allow school districts to offer dropout recovery programs online in addition to the campus-based programs they already provide.

  • HB 3887 (Coleman) would require trauma training for public school personnel.

The committee heard testimony on one Senate bill:

  • CSSB 155 (Hinojosa) would require a student who is required by a UIL policy to have a physical examination prior to participating in a UIL event or activity to also have an electrocardiogram before the student's first and third years of participation. The bill would require UIL to waive the electrocardiogram requirements if a student's parent or a person standing in parental relation to the student submits a written request for a waiver for any reason. The substitute laid out in the hearing adds the requirement that the UIL would have to create a form to provide to students wishing to participate in UIL activities that includes certain information on cardiac arrest. If a students is required to receive a physical exam before being allowed to participate in an activity, the student must provide documentation of the exam and the cardiac arrest form, signed by the student's parent or guardian.