News of the Week
Texas budget negotiations stumble amid questions on tax cuts, school funds
House and Senate leaders struggled Monday to protect their complicated deal on the two-year state budget. The two chambers’ budget chiefs clashed over whether a tax-relief package should rely heavily on rebates of a fee on electricity bills.
Why Texas Makes Kindergarteners Take Standardized Tests
High stakes testing is a hot button issue in public education. State lawmakers are poised to scale back tests in high school. But some parents are worried about tests for younger kids — as young as kindergarten.
Lawmakers to Negotiate Key Details of Education Bills
For all the lengthy hearings, heated floor debates and tense behind-the-scenes deliberation that have already occurred, the next four days will probably be the most important for the fate of the 83rd legislative session’s two major education bills. Over that period, House and Senate lawmakers will meet privately to work out their significant differences on House Bill 5and Senate Bill 2 in conference committee.
Senate continues school tax breaks for companies
Capital-intensive businesses relocating to Texas or expanding here would face greater scrutiny to qualify for school property tax breaks under the Senate’s version of House Bill 3390 that passed Tuesday night.
Bill Reducing Testing for Lower Grades Clears Senate
Elementary and middle school students will take fewer standardized exams under legislation approved by the state Senate on Tuesday — if Texas can get a waiver from the federal government. Under House Bill 866 by state Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Humble, which passed the Senate on Tuesday night, students who do well on state exams in third and fifth grades could skip exams in fourth, sixth and seventh grades.
HB 2824 passed: High Performance Schools Consortium districts get to experiment with accountability
If Gov. Perry signs the bill, a law that several North Texas school districts have been working for will kick in. To recap: After increasingly bitter complaints about TAKS and then STAAR, the legislature agreed two years ago to create a way for districts that had demonstrated success with the tests to try to come up with a better system. Thus was born the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium.
‘School marshals’ bill headed to Perry’s office
The “Protection of Texas Children Act,” which provides for the creation of “school marshals,” was approved Wednesday by the Senate, overcoming four Democrats‘ nay votes, and now awaits Gov. Rick Perry‘s signature.
Charter school, testing bills will pass or die together
The fates of two major education bills that would reduce standardized testing and allow more charter schools have become inextricably linked, and it appears they will either cross the legislative finish line together or not at all. Negotiating teams from the Texas House and Senate have until Saturday night to reconcile their differences on House Bill 5, the testing measure, and Senate Bill 2, the charter school legislation.
STAAR exemptions won’t help students, schools or parents
This newspaper has been open to compromises regarding the number of STAAR exams required for high school students, but legislators are going too far in their decision that high-performing students don’t need to take all of the state reading and math exams currently required in grades three through eight. The Texas Legislature is on course to become the first state to petition Washington to stop annual testing of some students in those grades.
The Brief: Top Texas News for May 23, 2013
End-of-session tension abated on Wednesday as lawmakers, after days of uncertainty, broke through a budget stalemate. The House and Senate each approved measures central to the two-year budget the Legislature must pass before Monday, the last day of the session.
CSCOPE to No Longer Offer Lesson Plans to Texas Schools
The era of CSCOPE lessons has come to an end, Senate Education Chairman Dan Patrick, R-Houston, said Monday at a news conference. Since November, the state-developed curriculum delivery system used by 70 percent of Texas school districts has generated hours of testimony in multiple hearings before legislative committees and the State Board of Education. The debate comes as a result of concerns about a perceived anti-American agenda in its optional lesson plans and a lack of transparency behind its operations.
House Signals Approval for Campus Construction Bonds
The Texas House gave tentative approval to billions of dollars in bonds for campus construction projects on Monday. Senators already gave the go-ahead, but they will have a chance to revisit the proposal, because the House increased the total from about $2.4 billion to nearly $2.7 billion.
Senators grill Perry’s nominees to UT board
State senators sharply questioned three nominees to the University of Texas System Board of Regents on Monday regarding a long-running controversy about governance of the Austin flagship and the job security of its president, Bill Powers. One senator said during the confirmation hearing that he would vote against the nominees because he believes they are “on a mission” to dismiss Powers. But several other senators said they were pleased by the nominees’ assurances that they had no such intentions.
Is the road back for Democrats paved with education dollars?
Maybe this is what the road back looks like for Democrats.