The Texas House Public Education Committee met Oct. 8, 2014, on two interim charges:

  • the impact of two 2013 laws intended to reduce the number of criminal citations issued to students at school
  • the ongoing implementation of HB 5, which made significant changes to the high school graduation program and standardized testing at the high school level

Reduction of student criminal citations

The committee first met with the House Corrections Committee to assess the impact of school discipline and school-based policing student referrals to the municipal, justice of the peace and juvenile courts, and identify judicial policies or initiatives designed to reduce referrals without having a negative impact on school safety.

TCTA attorney Paige Williams testified, citing TCTA’s concerns about the broader trend of taking disciplinary alternatives away from districts and teachers without providing other options to address disruptive students.

Williams implored legislators to include teachers in the conversation about how to best address school safety, as it is often the teacher who is directly affected by such legislation, even when the policies are directed at the district administrative level.

HB 5 implementation

The committee also met on its own to discuss HB 5’s implementation and report on recommendations for improvement. The committee was charged with working with TEA, the SBOE and other stakeholders to ensure that additional rigorous math and science courses are created to prepare students for the workforce.