View as Webpage • May 23, 2023

Texas Education Policy Alert

Weekly Update

IDRA's weekly email alert includes legislative updates, opportunities for action to make your voice heard, bills to watch and other information through the session until it closes in late May.

Coming Up: Week of May 23, 2023

Hearings this week will address:

  • Public school funding and private school voucher bill
  • No other scheduled education hearings - the end is near!

Final Week of the Legislative Session

Expect a flurry of activities in the next seven days when there are no guarantees. A public school funding bill, House Bill 100, was revived late Sunday evening with a larger private school voucher attached to it from Senate Bill 8. Then, just shy of midnight on Sunday, the Senate Education Committee announced an emergency hearing for 8:30 am the next day, Monday, to discuss the now combined public and private school funding bill. The bill passed out of committee and awaits a Senate debate before heading back to the House for members to approve.

We encourage you to keep calling your representatives and tell them to vote no on all voucher proposals. Your voice matters.

School Takeovers and Arming Teachers Do Not Make Schools More Safe

Today, the House will debate SB 11, one of the priority school safety bills pushed by state leadership this session. The bill has changed significantly since crossing over from the Senate, and now includes two extremely problematic provisions: (1) a $25,000 stipend to incentivize teachers to carry guns on school grounds; and (2) an authorization for TEA to take over and install its own board of managers for a school district found out of compliance with the agency’s school safety rules and regulations. Safe schools are built and maintained through strong, enduring relationships between educators, students and families within the school community, not through an increased presence of armed personnel or by excluding families and community members from participating in school governance and leadership. IDRA urges legislators to oppose SB 11 in its current form. 

House Floor Proceedings

Watch the House floor debate live

Watch past hearings

Senate Floor Proceedings

Watch the Senate floor debate live

Watch past hearings

Highlights from Last Week

Major Bills Approaching the Final Stretch

The House did not have the votes to pass a private school voucher bill and missed the deadline to vote out of committee any of those proposals.

The House took up both contentious higher education bills—SB 17 (ban on diversity equity and inclusion offices) and SB 18 (restrictions to faculty tenure). Opponents of SB 18 managed to delay consideration to yesterday, with final passage today. Legislators spent all day Friday debating the implications of SB 17 for students, staff and faculty at public colleges and universities. Yesterday, the House passed SB 17 along party lines. Both bills differ from their original Senate versions and will now need to be worked out in order to move toward full passage.

The Senate passed a committee substitute of HB 3, one of the two priority bills addressing school safety this session. The bill was amended in the Senate to remove an armed security officer requirement for every school campus – a significant victory for education justice advocates.

Two pieces of bipartisan legislation are closer to becoming law. The CROWN Act (HB 567) prohibits discrimination based on hairstyle or texture, and House Bill 8 increases funding for community colleges and dual credit course access for high school students from low-income households. 

Voucher Testimony Presented This Week

Texans Want Public Funds Kept in Public Schools - IDRA Testimony against HB 100 (Voucher), submitted by Chloe Latham Sikes, Ph.D., to the Texas House Senate Education Committee, May 22, 2023 

HB 100 Poses a Threat to Students’ Civil Rights with Devastating, Discriminatory Impacts on Vulnerable Students - TLEEC Testimony against HB 100, submitted to the Texas Senate Education Committee, May 22, 2023  

Testimony Presented Last Week

Revisions to Texas Civics Education are Redundant, Contradictory and Confusing - IDRA Testimony against HB 2273, submitted by Chloe Latham Sikes, Ph.D., to the Texas Senate Education Committee, May 18, 2023

Texas Emergent Bilingual Students Should Have Quality Programs and Certified Teachers – IDRA Testimony on SB 2497, submitted by Chloe Latham Sikes, Ph.D., to the Texas Senate Education Committee, May 16, 2023

Tools & Resources

You can make your voice heard in House committee hearings through the electronic comment portal!

Learn more about IDRA’s policy recommendations for Texas

See our Infographic: 5 Data Snacks on IDRA's Policy Priorities

Read the Policy Agenda for the Texas Legislative Education Equity Coalition (TLEEC) 

How to Testify before the Texas Legislature, Infographic

Sign up for IDRA's Texas Education Policy Alerts! Also available in Spanish.
IDRA is an independent, non-profit organization whose mission is to achieve equal educational opportunity through strong public schools that prepare all students to access and succeed in college. 
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