Three Good Bills in Senate Education Committee

Two late but welcome additions to the committee agenda for Tuesday are SB 463 by Sen. Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) and SB 1854 by Sen. Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio). The Seliger bill would make permanent last session’s temporary program allowing students to graduate without having to pass up to two state end-of-course assessments, as long as an individual graduation committee finds the student has demonstrated proficiency in the subject by other means. The bill appropriately recognizes that there are multiple worthwhile measures of student achievement, including portfolios demonstrating proficiency and successful completion of college coursework.

The Uresti bill would increase the chances of reducing paperwork burdens on teachers. It gives site-based decision-making committees, with elected classroom-teacher representatives, a formal role in periodic district reviews of paperwork requirements aimed at freeing up teachers to teach rather than shuffle paper. The bill in effect acknowledges that those with a direct stake in the matter are likely to take this task more seriously than the average board of trustees.

Already on the committee agenda for Tuesday is a third good bill, SB 196 by Sen. Sylvia Garcia (D-Houston), which requires parents to be notified when their child’s school lacks full-time nurse, counselor, or librarian staffing.

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