Dozens of education bills become law

Lawmakers return to Austin July 18 for a special session of the Texas Legislature. While dozens of education bills, such as one that revamps the A-F accountability system, were passed during the regular legislative session, some education measures will return for reconsideration during the special session.

Here is a sampling of the bills passed by the 85th Texas Legislature and signed by Gov. Greg Abbott. The link to each bill provides the language of the bill and, when available, a bill analysis and fiscal impact statement.

HB 22 by Rep. Dan Huberty and Sen. Larry Taylor – This bill significantly revamps the upcoming
A-F accountability system, moving from five domains into three domains – student achievement, school progress and closing the gaps.

SB 7 by Sen. Paul Bettencourt and Rep. Ken King – The bill enhances reporting requirements when inappropriate relationships between students and educators are suspected.

SB 801 by Sen. Kel Seliger and Rep. Ken King – This bill gives the State Board of Education the ability to consider whether instructional material is appropriate for the subject and grade level when adopting material.

SB 826 by Sen. Larry Taylor and Rep. Dan Huberty – This bill allows students to take an advanced course before the successful completion of English I, II, or III for English. SB 826 also eliminated the requirement that students successfully complete Algebra I and Geometry prior to enrolling in the advanced math course, but the bill does not impact or alter prerequisites in the TEKS which must be satisfied prior to enrolling a student in the course. The legislation also allows a student to meet the third and fourth math or science credit by completing an advanced Career and Technical Education course.

SB 671 by Sen. Donna Campbell and Rep. Ryan Guillen – This bill requires the SBOE to adopt rules to allow a student to receive one Languages Other than English credit if they successfully complete a dual language immersion program in elementary school.

HB 3526 by Rep. Donna Howard and Sen. Larry Taylor – This bill changes the name of the Instructional Materials Allotment to Technology and Instructional Materials Allotment and requires the commissioner to develop and maintain a web portal by Sept. 1, 2018 to assist districts in selecting instructional materials.

HB 3593 by Rep. Diego Bernal and Sen. Larry Taylor – This bill requires the SBOE to adopt five cybersecurity courses and they would be eligible for weighted funding.

The governor has indicated that four education topics will be considered during the special session.

Those are a teacher pay raise of $1,000; administrative flexibility in teacher hiring and retention practices, a school finance reform commission and creation of a school choice program for special needs students.