Speaker Joe Straus has shed more light on his priorities for the upcoming session – to increase manufacturing jobs in Texas by addressing critical water problems and increasing technical training programs in schools. Education funding is on his short list as well.
The Texas Supreme Court could blow a hole in the state’s budget if it finds the business tax unconstitutional, as maintained in a lawsuit led by food giant Nestlé USA. If the Supreme Court throws out the law, the scope of the court’s decision will determine if the state needs to quickly find another way to come up with some $4.5+ billion annually. The court must rule in the case by Oct. 23.
TEA announced this week the 23 school districts that will participate in the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium. Created by SB 1557, these schools will develop methods for transforming public schools through the development of innovative, next-generation learning standards, assessment and accountability systems. These districts were chosen to participate through an application process.
Lake Travis ISD
Clear Creek ISD
College Station ISD
Glen Rose ISD
Highland Park ISD (Dallas County)
Round Rock ISD
White Oak ISD Klein ISD
The Chicago Teacher Strike ended this week. You may be interested to learn about the reforms Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been seeking:
Teacher evaluations very similar to State Sen. Florence Shapiro’s, (R) Plano, bill last year, and similar to Houston ISD’s already approved evaluation program. Chicago’s mayor wants a significant part of a teacher’s evaluation based upon data about student performance in classes. Emanuel wanted Chicago schools to ramp up the percentage to 40 percent over a five-year period. Shapiro’s SB 4 bill last year asked that half of an evaluation be drawn from performance information. She lowered the number to at least 30 percent of an evaluation linked to classroom scores, believing that teachers shouldn’t be evaluated simply upon classroom observations or other non-data assessments. The bill died in the House.
Houston ISD has put in place a plan to use student performance data for roughly half of a teacher’s evaluation. The Dallas school district is working on a plan now to include student performance as well.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
The Joint Select Committee on Public School Accountability will meet at 9:00 AM on Monday, September 24th. The Committee will hear invited testimony followed by public testimony on issues related to the public school finance system.
Education Forum to Examine High Stakes Testing and Accountability
As the 83rd Legislative Session approaches, Texans are focusing on the issues surrounding high-stakes, standardized testing for elementary and secondary students. To better inform and engage parents, educators, legislators and advocates in discussion of these issues, the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin will host “Measuring Up: A Statewide Conversation on High-Stakes Testing & Accountability” on Sept. 24th.
The House Committee on Public Education will meet at 9:00 AM on Tuesday, September 25th to consider the following interim charge: Conduct a review of the University Interscholastic League (UIL).
The Senate Education Committee will meet at 9 a.m. on Monday, October 8, to hear testimony on the following interim charge: to study the growing demand for virtual schools in Texas. Review the benefits of virtual schools, related successes in other states, and needed changes to remove barriers to virtual schools.
The Senate Committee on Education will meet at Noon or upon adjournment of Joint hearing of Senate Education and Senate Criminal Justice, on October 30th to hear testimony on the following charge: to monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on Education, 82nd Legislature, and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, and/or complete implementation. Specifically: SB 6, relating to the establishment of the instructional materials allotment; SB 8, relating to the flexibility of the board of trustees of a school district in the management and operation of public schools; HB 1942, relating to bullying in public schools; the implementation of legislation related to the state’s accountability system and other reforms enacted by HB 3, 81st Legislature, and SB 1031, 80th Legislature, Regular Session.
Early voting begins October 22nd and ends November 2nd.
Election day is November 6th.