The Texas Senate Education Committee has added three more hearings to its interim agenda.
On August 16, the committee will hold a hearing on governance policies for school boards. Training for board members will be one focal point, especially as it relates to policies affecting schools rated low-performing. The committee also will consider the current status of initiatives to build a high-quality pre-kindergarten grant program and to raise standards of teacher preparation.
On September 13, the committee will concentrate on digital learning, including issues of broadband access. Also on the agenda that day will be a discussion of criteria for alternative measures used to meet graduation requirements for high school.
September 14 will be a big day for the private-school voucher lobby in the Senate Education Committee. That day’s hearing will be devoted to variations on the theme of school “choice,” especially two voucher variants that have gained favor with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the Senate’s presiding officer. These two ideas go by the name of education savings accounts and tax credit scholarships, but they boil down to the same basic voucher idea: redirecting funds from public to private schools with minimal accountability. The committee will hear testimony as well on “state intervention procedures for public schools with academically unsuccessful ratings of at least two consecutive school years.” Topic number three for the day will be a review of the recent legislation authorizing school districts to be designated as districts of innovation.
Watch for continuing Texas AFT Hotline coverage of all these topics leading up to the hearings. Texas AFT will also testify at and report on these newly announced hearings as well as others of concern to Texas education employees.