Texas Education

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Texas PTA update – 3/20/09

Posted by Texas Education on March 20, 2009

Just in from the Texas PTA:

BILL UPDATES

ACCOUNTABILITY
There was a hearing this week on SB 3 and HB 3, the filed bills on school accountability. We will have more information for you over the next few days and weeks, but here are a few pieces:
  • The bill creates a distinction tier for excellence in a variety of areas – growth in achievement, closing the gaps, workforce readiness, fine arts, physical fitness, second language learning. Texas PTA requested that this be included so that school districts would be encouraged to provide robust, challenging programs in fine arts and physical activity/fitness.  Schools can earn distinctions in multiple areas.
  • To earn a Post-secondary Readiness endorsement, the goal for all Texas high school graduates, where students complete 4 years of English, Math, Science and Social Studies, 2 foreign language credits and 8 credits or electives of their own choosing. Career and Technology courses, approximately 30 of them, would be allowed to count for 4th year of math and science. The bill also recommends the creation of new applied math and science courses.
  • The bill defines college readiness standards and skilled workforce readiness standards.
  • To maintain accreditation, student achievement or growth in individual student achievement toward post-secondary readiness would be assessed each year, but a 3 year rolling average for each student subpopulation would be allowed.
  • The bill aligns exit standards with skilled workforce and college readiness standards.

ENVIRONMENTAL
Rep. Diane Patrick, Arlington, has filed HB 4208 relating to school bus idling.

STATEWIDE SMOKE-FREE WORKPLACES LAW
Late last week, Rep. Senfronia Thompson, Houston, filed HB 3415, an alternative to HB 5 and SB 544, the comprehensive statewide smoke-free workplaces law that Texas PTA has endorsed.

OTHER SMOKING RELATED LEGISLATION
Sen. Hegar, Katy, has filed SB 2327, relating to a prohibition on smoking in a car in which a person under age 16 is riding.

SAFETY
We’ll put in a card of support for HB 149, regarding penalties for illegally passing a school bus.  We’ll put in a card of support for HB 1622, relating to a grant program to provide children at risk of hunger or obesity with increased access to nutritious foods.

FUNDING
Senator Shapiro, Plano, has filed SB 2392 relating to school finance.  This bill adjusts formulas that determine funding for school districts.

VOUCHERS
Sen. Shapiro, Plano, has again filed a voucher bill – SB 2204 relating to vouchers for students with autism.

Vondebar (wonderful!) some awesome bills filed on behaf of our kiddos!
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