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2 Document(s) [ Subject: ]

Committee: Senate Education
Title: Interim Report
Subjects: Academically unacceptable schools | Charter schools | Dallas County Schools | Districts of innovation | Early childhood education | Education Agency, Texas | Educational accountability | Educational technology | Harris County Department of Education | High school graduation requirements | High-speed Internet access | Middle school students | Middle schools | Scholarships | School boards | School choice | School counselors | School finance | School vouchers | Special education | Teacher retention | Teacher training | Teacher-student relationships | Technology education | Video cameras |
Library Call Number: L1836.84 Ed83
Session: 84th R.S. (2015)
Online version: View report [50 pages]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. School Choice: Study school choice programs enacted in states across the nation, examining education savings account and tax credit scholarship programs in particular. Examine the implementation process used in other states and what impact these programs have had on student academics and state and local district budgets. Make recommendations on which choice plan could best serve Texas students.
2. Charter School Approval, Expansion, Revocation: Study the approval, expansion, and revocation of public charter schools in Texas, including the implementation of SB 2 (83R) and other legislation. In particular, examine the issues surrounding the disposition of state property when charters are revoked, non-renewed, or cease to operate. Make recommendations regarding policies to ensure an efficient and effective transfer and disposal of state property that preserves state interest while ensuring that certain investment capital and the bond market supporting charter construction remains robust. In addition, make recommendations if needed to clarify policies regarding expansion of existing high-quality charter schools in Texas. Additionally, examine facility funding for charter schools in other states and make recommendations on facility funding assistance for charter schools in Texas.
3. Teacher Preparation, Retention, Shortages: Study teacher shortage and retention issues in Texas and evaluate educator preparation programs to determine if these programs are preparing educators for the rigors of the 21st century classroom. In particular, examine the shortages of ELL, special education, and STEM educators across the state and identify the issues creating a shortage. Make recommendations to improve educator preparation throughout the state and increase certification rates. (Joint Charge with Senate Higher Education)
4. Efficiency/Productivity Review: Conduct a comprehensive performance review of all public schools in Texas, examining ways to improve efficiency, productivity, and student academic outcomes. Study performance-based funding mechanisms that allocate dollars based upon achievement versus attendance. Identify any state mandates which hinder student performance, district and campus innovation, and efficiency and productivity overall.
5. Broadband Access: Evaluate digital learning opportunities in classrooms and examine existing barriers to schools' ability to provide a digital learning environment. In particular, study the availability of affordable broadband access to Page 2 of 5 school districts across Texas. Examine different options for improving access to broadband service in all areas of the state, for districts and student homes. Make recommendations on a statewide plan for building the necessary infrastructure to provide a competitive, free-market environment in broadband service.
6. Teacher-Student Relationships/Student Safety: Study the recent rise of inappropriate teacher-student relationships, the impact of social media interaction between teachers and students, and examine the current efforts by the Texas Education Agency, schools, law enforcement, and the courts to investigate and prosecute any educator engaged in inappropriate relationships. Determine what recommendations, if any, are needed to improve student safety, including increasing agency staff, adjusting penalties, and strengthening efforts to sanction educators' certificates for misconduct. Study and address the issue of prevention through training and education of school employees.
7. County School Systems: Examine the structure and performance of the two remaining county-based school systems, Harris County Department of Education and Dallas County Schools. In particular, study the efficiency of these entities and determine whether those services are duplicative with education service centers or could be absorbed by education service centers.
8. School Board Governance, Low-Performing Schools: Examine current school board governance policies and practices and make recommendations that could improve the focus, attitudes, and outcomes of Texas school boards, districts, and students. Study existing board training requirements for public schools and make suggestions to educate school board trustees of policies that could achieve better student outcomes, particularly within the framework set for low-performing schools in House Bill 1842 (HB1842)(84R).
9. Monitoring Charge: Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on Education and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, and/or complete implementation. Specifically, monitor the following: 1) Legislation establishing state intervention procedures for public schools with academically unsuccessful ratings of at least two consecutive school years; and providing school districts the ability to be designated as a district of innovation; 2) Initiatives to build a high-quality pre-kindergarten grant program; 3) Legislation to raise standards of teacher preparation programs and establish a more consistent, high-quality accountability system; 4) Program to require the placement and use of video cameras in self-contained classrooms or other settings providing special education services to students; 5) Legislation to address training support for counselors, and advising courses for middle school students; and 6) Legislation to establish criteria for alternative measures of assessments to meet high school graduation requirements.
Committee: House Government Transparency and Operation
Title: Interim Report
Subjects: Computer networks | Computers and government | Criminal records | Data centers | Electronic security | Law enforcement | Public information | Public Information Act, Texas | State agencies | State purchasing | Video cameras |
Library Call Number: L1836.84 G747T
Session: 84th R.S. (2015)
Online version: View report [76 pages]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Identify and address potential gaps in the state's cybersecurity policies and ensure that personal information held by state agencies is secure. Address whether industry-accepted cybersecurity standards have been met by state agencies and state data centers and determine ways to promote a culture of cybersecurity awareness among users of state information resources.
2. Examine purchasing practices by state agencies to ensure such practices are efficient and transparent.
3. Study issues related to access to public information held outside of the custody or control of the governmental body by current or former officers or employees. Assess whether the Public Information Act's procedures for response to repetitious or redundant public information requests adequately protect small governmental bodies from the financial burdens imposed by such requests.
4. Study the use of commercial cloud computing by state agencies and institutions of higher education, including efficiencies surrounding a utility-based model, security impacts of transitioning to cloud computing, and cost-savings achieved by the utilization of commercial cloud computing services.
5. Review the process of dissemination by public entities of criminal records containing incomplete or inaccurate information, assess options for the subjects of such records to correct the misinformation specifically as it interferes with their ability to obtain employment, and determine the need for greater regulations over this process. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Homeland Security & Public Safety)
6. Study the impact of emerging technologies used by law enforcement and issues related to appropriate dissemination of the data provided by those technologies, including the impact of technologies on the operation of law enforcement agencies, the operation of the Public Information Act, and any appropriate safeguards for citizens and law enforcement officers who interact with those technologies or whose data is recorded. (Joint charge with the House Select Committee on Emerging Issues in Texas Law Enforcement)
7. Conduct legislative oversight and monitoring of the agencies and programs under the committee’s jurisdiction and the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 84th Legislature. In conducting this oversight, the committee should: a. consider any reforms to state agencies to make them more responsive to Texas taxpayers and citizens; b. identify issues regarding the agency or its governance that may be appropriate to investigate, improve, remedy, or eliminate; c. determine whether an agency is operating in a transparent and efficient manner; and d. identify opportunities to streamline programs and services while maintaining the mission of the agency and its programs.

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