The quality of public education in Texas is under threat from several bills. Other bills that would improve public education will die if they are not heard and approved this week.

The Bad

  • HB 3979 would severely limit how educators teach history and social studies. It would also keep students from participating in civic activities for course credit. Vigorous opposition from Democrats in both the House and Senate reflect the serious concerns of educators and education advocates.
    Status: Different versions of the bill have passed both chambers; it could be amended by a conference committee if one is appointed.
  • SB 1365 would disenfranchise voters by allowing the appointed commissioner of the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to take over and govern local school districts, based on the test scores of a few campuses. And there would be no public oversight.
    Status: The bill will be taken up in the House and voted on soon, as early as Monday May 24th.
  • SB 487 would limit the ability of local governments to control the expansion and location of new charter school campuses. They could be placed wherever the operator wants them, thereby taking away zoning and other decisions from democratically elected city councils.
    Status: The bill will be voted on in the House soon, as early as Monday May 24th.
  • HB 1525 mostly clarifies and improves on the reforms enacted in last session’s HB 3. But provisions expected to be added by the Senate would require school districts to retain 40% of their federal relief education grants and spread their spending over five years, preventing districts from deciding how best to spend their federal allocations. Another provision would allow TEA to provide test-based outcome bonuses, which rewards districts simply because they show good STAAR scores.
    Status: The bill is on the Senate floor calendar and will be voted on the week of May 24th.

The Good

  • HB 41/SB 2081 would limit class sizes for prekindergarten students, allowing teachers to devote more time to individual students. Both bills have bipartisan support.
    Status: HB 41 has not been heard in Senate Education and SB 2081 has not been scheduled for a House floor vote.
  • HB 764 would limit standardized testing in certain grades to only what is mandated by federal law. This would greatly reduce the burden and stress placed on students and teachers resulting from non-federally required standardized tests, and allow more instructional time for actual teaching.
    Status: The bill won bipartisan support in the House, but has not been heard or voted on in Senate Education.
  • HB 2954 would provide mental health and suicide prevention, intervention, and post-vention services at the elementary school level. It would expand the services that currently exist in middle and high schools to lower grades.
    Status: Senate Education passed the bill May 22, and will be voted on by the Senate soon.

CONTACT THE SPEAKER AND YOUR REPRESENTATIVE

Please contact Speaker Dade Phelan at 512-463-1000 and ask him to send HB 3979, which seeks to control free speech in classrooms, to conference committee.

Also contact your state representative and ask them to vote YES on SB 2081, NO on SB 1365, vote to SEND HB 3979 to Conference committee.

Find who represents you HERE. Then find the contact info for your state representative HERE or HERE.

You can say/write…

My name is ______________. I live in ________________ and my ZIP code is _______. I urge Representative {____________} to take several actions this week:

  • Support SB 2081 that limits pre-k class sizes.
  • Oppose SB 1365 that allows state takeover of schools districts.
  • Oppose SB 487 that limits local control over charter schools.
  • Have HB 3979, that seeks to control free speech in classrooms, sent to a conference committee.

CONTACT COMMITTEE CHAIR AND YOUR SENATOR

Please contact Senate Education chairman Larry Taylor at 512-463-0111. Also contact your senator. Ask all to vote YES on House Bills 41, 764, and 2954; and to oppose any restrictions on how districts may spend federal relief funds and test based outcome bonuses in HB 1525.

Find who represents you HERE. Then find the contact info for your state senator HERE or HERE.

You can say/write…

My name is ________. I live in __________and my ZIP code is ______. I urge Senator {Taylor/your senator} to take several actions this week:

  • Hold a hearing on and support HB 41 that limits pre-k class sizes.
  • Hold a hearing on and support HB 764 that limits standardized testing to only that required by federal law.
  • Support HB 2954 by floor vote that requires mental health services for students in lower grade levels.
  • Oppose any test-based outcome bonuses or any restrictions on how districts may spend federal relief funds in HB 1525.