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Senate Committee on Education - 78th R.S. (2003)

Committee Members
Florence Shapiro, Chair
Royce West, Vice Chair
Kip Averitt
Kyle L. Janek
Steve Ogden
Todd Staples
Leticia Van de Putte
Tommy Williams
Judith Zaffirini
Charges
• Study the implementation of SB 186, 78th Legislature, Regular Session, (relating to the computation of public school dropout and completion rates) and make recommendations for improvements to current statutes and programs. Explore opportunities for maximizing current resources and identifying additional state, federal, and privately-sponsored programs for at-risk students that offer innovative delivery of educational services that encourage students to finish school. Focus on mentoring programs, including, but not limited to Communities in Schools, and the use of technology to provide instruction.
• Study the performance of high school students on TAKS, the new state assessment instrument. Make recommendations to improve any performance deficiencies that are identified by the review, including alternative school schedules, mentoring programs, technology-based applications, and other innovative solutions.
• Study progress of implementation of SB 76 (relating to the provision of subsidized child-care services). Evaluate and make recommendations on opportunities for Texas to increase the educational component of the Head Start program. Examine and make recommendations relating to access to quality early education, including estimated costs, teacher availability, learning requirements, and access to services for students with special needs.
• Evaluate opportunities and make recommendations on increasing the supply of qualified teachers and improving their working conditions. The evaluation and recommendations should focus on preparation, recruitment, certification, and retention of qualified teachers, while not restricting alternative certification. Conduct an assessment of the impact of teacher incentives, including mentoring programs and other creative options for retaining teachers, and develop recommendations for implementing incentive programs.
• Study and make recommendations relating to the effectiveness of the current process of selecting, funding, and distributing textbooks. Identify areas where the current process can be made more cost efficient, including recommendations relating to innovative methods of providing instruction such as online distance learning, and the use of interactive software to address the specific challenges of remedial students and advanced readers. Identify costs and benefits of using technology to provide current and innovative instructional materials, including staffing and hardware requirements.
• Study the TEA's implementation of the state's new accountability system and make recommendations to resolve any problems found. Examine the impact of the federal No Child Left Behind law on the state's accountability system and make recommendations for changes to state law to meet the federal legislation. Examine the ability of the current PEIMS database to meet future information needs and recommend changes, if necessary. Review and make recommendations on innovative alternatives for tracking student performance.
• Study successful partnerships between school districts and the business community and make recommendations for maximizing the use of effective partnerships, improving the delivery of education services, and enhancing educational opportunities for Texas students, especially at-risk students.

Note:
Charged by the Lieutenant Governor 1/21/2004. (Press Release, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, January 21, 2004.)

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