The legislative session is over on May 31 and it's go time!
First the bad news.
Last night the Texas House voted for HB1365, a “compromise” school takeover bill. This version keeps HISD and school districts all over the state in the TEA’s crosshairs and ensures that STAAR scores remain the be-all end-all for any struggling school.
Students and schools need more support after COVID, not more sanctions. By authorizing the potential takeover of struggling schools next year, this bill shows a callous disregard for the long-term effects of COVID on children, especially those in poor communities. The bill is even is retroactive to 2018-19. How can that be right?
If it passes the final vote today, the state can STILL takeover schools for almost any reason with extremely limited right to appeal. It means that high-stakes testing will STILL determine the future of students and schools.
Call your state rep and ask them to vote no on SB 1365. Make sure they know people are watching to see if they will cast their vote for democracy and equitable education.
Now the good news.
HB 999 (Bernal and Menendez) passed both chambers of the Texas Legislature last night. This bill means that high school seniors do not have to pass STAAR to graduate this year.
The original bill would have also given next year’s seniors an alternative pathway to graduation besides STAAR. Unfortunately, the final bill left out these students, the very students who have spent almost half of high school under difficult COVID conditions. Nonetheless, the bill is now on the governor’s desk and is a step in the right direction.
Measures like this show that our voices are making a difference in the legislature. Let’s keep it up.
Call Governor Abbott -(512) 463-2000 or (512) 463-1762- today and ask him to sign this bill immediately so that it helps students right away!