The legislature is not in session, but interim committees are getting busy. Four hearings coming up next week will bear watching. They are:
House Public Education Committee, Tuesday, February 9: The committee will review current state education policies and initiatives regarding middle grades. The hearing will include an examination of school-based strategies and best practices that encourage at-risk youth to finish school.
A separate focal point of this public hearing will be the adequacy of programs that address the needs of high-performing students. The committee will consider whether the academic performance of high-achieving students should be specifically addressed as a separate indicator in the accountability system.
Senate Education Committee, Wednesday, February 10: This Senate panel will be in McAllen for a hearing on several topics:
–the placement and use of video cameras in self-contained classrooms or other settings providing special-education services to students (SB 507 implementation, scheduled to begin next school year);
–legislation to address training for counselors and advising middle-school students; and
–English Language Learning.
House Higher Education Committee, Thursday, February 11: The committee plans to look at issues related to the state’s community colleges, including their taxing districts, service areas, and barriers to access. The committee will consider ways community colleges could offer accessible and affordable baccalaureate degrees, in areas where the state has a significant workforce shortage, without compromising quality of education and training. The committee’s charge includes making recommendations “to maximize efficient student pathways” and “to offer more affordable educational opportunities such as through dual credit and early college start programs.”
Senate Select Committee on Property Tax Reform, Thursday, February 11: This special panel will convene in Harlingen to continue its discussion of the process of tax appraisal and options “to further reduce the tax burden on property owners.”