The Senate Education Committee met April 4, 2018, to consider interim charges that included an examination of high-quality campuses and programs and a review of the Texas Virtual School Network.

TCTA contract lobbyist Lindsay Gustafson testified to provide a counterpoint to the committee’s discussion of virtual education. While committee members seemed to support removing many of the virtual school regulations in current law, Gustafson explained that these limitations were important and had been carefully thought out. Specifically, TCTA asked that lawmakers retain the following protections in current law:

  • The provision stipulating that only a student enrolled the previous year in a Texas public school is eligible to enroll in courses or in a full-time online program. Removing this requirement would allow many new additions (such as home-schooled students) to an already pressed school finance system. 
  • The limitation on what a course can cost. There should be cost savings in virtual education, as once the coursework is developed, virtual education should be considerably less expensive than traditional education settings.
  • The provision prohibiting students in kindergarten through second grade to enroll in a full-time online program. Students at this age are not equipped for an online-only education.
  • The requirements for teacher qualifications. Students in virtual schools should have access to equally qualified teachers.