In House action:

  • The House passed HB 515 by Rep. Gary VanDeaver, which would eliminate the social studies STAAR exam and – per a floor amendment - would require TEA in the next four years to modify the writing assessments based on input from the pilot program evaluating alternative means of assessing writing. It also includes the provision, passed in separate legislation by Rep. Trent Ashby, that replaces the US History end-of-course exam with the US civics test.
  • HB 1645 by Rep. JM Lozano, allowing students who participate in Special Olympics to earn a letter on that basis, passed.
  • HB 441 by Rep. Mando Martinez, prohibiting schools from scheduling an instructional day on Memorial Day, passed.
  • HB 1720 by Rep. Larry Phillips, which would require parental notice of a lice incident, was challenged and withdrawn from the consent calendar (it could be brought back on the regular calendar).
  • HB 3145 by Rep. Joe Deshotel, which would have required school boards to adopt a recess policy that would specify required number of minutes of weekly unstructured playtime and whether a student’s recess time may be withheld as a form as student discipline, was also withdrawn from the consent calendar.

Meanwhile, the Senate passed:

  • SB 2144 by Senate Education Committee Chair Larry Taylor creates a commission to recommend improvements to the public school finance system.
  • SB 1839 by Sen. Bryan Hughes includes a provision requiring SBEC to establish an early childhood teaching certificate.
  • SB 1398 by Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. includes remedies to last session’s law regarding surveillance cameras in certain self-contained special education classrooms. The original bill contained some unclear language that broadened implementation beyond the intent of the bill; SB 1398 narrows application to the specific classrooms requested and for the specified school year.
  • SB 653 by Sen. Van Taylor makes employees/retirees convicted of certain serious offenses ineligible for their TRS pension.