State Legislature 2021
High Stakes Testing
- Support HB 999(Bernal)/ SB2058: This is a STAAR bill that expands eligibility for students in high school during COVID to use IGC w/o first having failed a STAAR exam. It also expands IGC from 2 to 5 exams. This would provide a route to graduation for students adversely impacted by COVID.
- Eliminate the use of STAAR for graduation and eliminate the use of STAAR as a promotion standard in elementary and middle school grades (HB 382) Texas is 1 of only 11 states to require a test to graduate. That must change!
- Eliminate standardized testing beyond that which is required by federal law. Federal law requires only 17 standardized tests and Texas still has 21. HB 378 would eliminate the English II and US History high school STAAR exams.
Public School Finance
- Stop the Swap: Ensure that Texas allocates the COVID Recovery funds. Texas officials haven't distributed $17.9 billion for schools in the last 2 federal COVID relief packages. Some worry Texas officials will use the money to supplant (replace) state funding already in draft budgets in the Texas Legislature.
- Make no cuts to public school funding. Even with the $6 billion in increased public school funding due to HB 3, Texas funds our schools poorly relative to other states. The HB3 funds do not fully cover the $5 billion funding hole (2010-2016) or the annual increases in students in our state. Well-funded public schools can offer small class sizes, attract and retain strong teachers and engage students with arts, music and science.
- Use the TX Rainy Day Fund to help our children, schools and communities recover from the global Coronavirus pandemic.
- The ongoing property tax cuts initiated by HB 3 will put a strain on the state’s budget and limit resources available for future investments in Texans’ priorities.
Support a two year charter expansion moratorium.
- Oppose SB 28 that limits state and local authority over charter school expansion including the requirement for a supermajority vote by the State Board of Education to veto new charter school applications.
- It’s time for the Texas Legislature to enact a two-year TIME OUT on charter school expansion so that Texas can address the financial impact of charter schools on traditional public schools and develop a thoughtful, fair, and equitable plan that ensures the future of public education for all Texas children and levels the playing field for all public schools.
Oppose State Takeover bills
- Oppose HB 3270/SB1365. These bills by Sen Bettencourt and Rep Dutton makes commissioner decisions final & unappealable; broadens TEA’s discretionary authority, and TEA can appoint a board of managers if only one campus has a conservator for just two years. It also makes it a Class C misdemeanor for a school board trustee to sue TEA.
- Oppose HB 3731 that expands takeover to both D and F campuses.
- Repeal HB 1842. There is no evidence across the country that state takeover would improve student learning.
- Implement a moratorium on school closures which are almost exclusively in poor neighborhoods.
Community Schools and wraparound services
- HB 220 (Bernal) allows the community schools model as a turnaround plan.
- No STAAR testing during COVID. Force the state to eliminate STAAR testing during COVID and stop using STAAR for graduation or promotion.
Keep students, teachers and communities safe during COVID.
- Cancel in-person instruction in high risk regions. The governor must allow school districts in communities at highest risk of COVID transmission to return to 100% virtual instruction without loss of funding. The Texas Education Agency currently cuts funding in half to any school district that does not make face-to-face instruction available to any parent who wants it.
- Teachers and school staff are essential workers and should be first in line to be vaccinated. The governor must reverse course and allow teachers and other staff to receive vaccines in the first round (Category 1A or 1B.)