Senate Committee on Education - 87th R.S. (2021)
- Parent Empowerment: Review Texas’ existing parental rights and responsibilities in current law. Evaluate current public school practices toward parental and community engagement related to: curriculum and learning materials, campus and district management, governance, accessibility to school officials, and data usage and privacy. Make recommendations to enable parents to exert a greater influence on their child's learning environment, including enacting meaningful change at their public school campus or district, and affirm parents as primary decision-makers over their child's schooling options.
- COVID-19 Pandemic Impact on Educator Talent Pipeline: Examine the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on the public school educator talent pipeline, staffing patterns and practices, and declining student enrollment and attendance. Review any policies and regulatory actions that prevent students from receiving instruction from a highly effective teacher. Monitor the impact of both the Teacher Incentive Allotment and non-administrator compensation increases directed under HB 3 86th R.S., as well as the teacher pay raises implemented in 2019. Explore innovative models to improve recruitment and make recommendations to maintain a strong educator workforce pipeline, while adapting resilient school strategies to meet emergent demands in public education.
- Student Discipline: Review and evaluate the operation of disciplinary alternative education programs (DAEP) and juvenile justice alternative education programs (JJAEP) with an emphasis on: quality of academic instruction, lengths of placements, physical conditions, administration of student discipline and law enforcement interventions, implementation of positive behavior management strategies, and the availability and delivery of mental health support services. Make recommendations to support and promote the success of these programs and enhance the ability of public schools to meet the needs of students through innovative school discipline models.
- School Library Advisory Council Review: Assess current standards adopted by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, the State Board of Education, and public school policies and practices related to materials in campus libraries or servers. Assess current adoption, placement, and review structures for library materials and make recommendations to ensure: 1) materials are grade, age, and developmentally appropriate; 2) publicly searchable and accessible; and 3) parents and the public are given a prominent role in the process.
- Vaping in Schools: Examine the enforcement of current law, which requires school districts to prohibit the use or possession of e-cigarettes, tobacco products, or "vape pens." Determine whether existing practices are effective at preventing vaping or use of other tobacco products on school campuses. Identify methods for schools to determine the contents within vape pens, including whether the pen contains nicotine, THC, or other chemicals. Investigate and report on the impact to student health, and determine if additional policies or laws are needed to protect students' health.
- Bond Efficiency: Conduct a comprehensive review of the school district bond issuance process. Specifically, review public notice and disclosure requirements, the bond election process, procurement requirements, and how unused bond proceeds may be utilized. Study the best practices implemented by school boards and make recommendations to improve bond issuance efficiencies.
- Local Government Exclusion: Investigate how some cities and counties are prohibiting the expansion of charter schools through local ordinances. Make recommendations to ensure the fair and equitable treatment of charter schools and independent school districts.
- Homestead Exemption: Study the use and effect of the optional homestead exemption available to independent school districts. Examine and report on costs to the state if school districts receive incentives to increase the optional percentage exemption.
Monitoring: Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on Education passed by the 87th Legislature, as well as relevant agencies and programs under the committee's jurisdiction. Specifically, make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, or complete implementation of the following:
- SB 3 87th 2nd C.S., Relating to civics training programs for certain public school social studies teachers and principals, parental access to certain learning management systems, and certain curriculum in public schools, including certain instructional requirements and prohibitions;
- SB 15 87th 2nd C.S., Relating to virtual and off-campus electronic instruction at a public school, the satisfaction of teacher certification requirements through an internship teaching certain virtual courses, and the allotment for certain special-purpose school districts under the Foundation School Program;
- SB 1365 87th R.S., Relating to public school organization, accountability, and fiscal management;
- SB 1716 87th R.S., Relating to a supplemental special education services and instructional materials program for certain public school students receiving special education services;
- HB 1525 87th R.S., Relating to the public school finance system and public education;
- HB 4545 87th R.S., Relating to the assessment of public school students, the establishment of a strong foundations grant program, and providing accelerated instruction for students who fail to achieve satisfactory performance on certain assessment instruments;
- HB 3 86th R.S., relating to public school finance and public education; and
- HB 3906 86th R.S., relating to the assessment of public school students, including the development and administration of assessment instruments, and technology permitted for use by students.
Senator Taylor served as Chair and Senator Lucio as Vice Chair from 1/15/2021-3/22/2022. Senator Creighton appointed Chair, Senator Paxton appointed Vice Chair, and Senator Birdwell appointed, 3/22/2022.
Press release, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, 3/22/2022.
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