Governor Abbot held a bill signing ceremony for “Parental Empowerment” legislation. The bills were HB 1605 (Buckley), HB 1926 (Hull), HB 3803 (Cunningham), and HB 900 (Patterson). The video archive can be found here.
This report is intended to give you an overview and highlight the various topics taken up. It is not a verbatim transcript of the discussions but is based upon what was audible or understandable to the observer.
HB 1605 (Buckley) Relating to instructional material and technology, the adoption of essential knowledge and skills for certain public school foundation curriculum subjects, and the extension of additional state aid to school districts for the provision of certain instructional materials; authorizing a fee.
- This is a curriculum change which allows teachers to spend more time on instruction and not finding content.
- This allows students have access to grade level material, increases parent transparency so they can have online access to materials, and also prevents students from accessing any harmful materials
HB 1926 (Hull) Relating to the expiration date and funding of the supplemental special education services program.
- This bill expands special education programs. Removes the 30-million-dollar cap to be spent on special education
HB 3803 (Cunningham) Relating to allowing parents and guardians to elect for a student to repeat or retake a course or grade.
- Gives parents the right to choose if their child repeats a grade level course instead of school administrators
HB 900 (Patterson) Relating to the regulation of library materials sold to or included in public school libraries.
- Removes sexually explicit materials from school libraries
- Prohibits schools from purchasing books from vendors that do not comply with Texas book rating requirements
- Schools are required to conduct regular reviews of sexually explicit materials
- Requires parental consent for student access to sexually relevant material
- Allows parents to have the primary say of what their children can read
- What can we see from the House on school choice legislation?
- The House and Senate can work collaboratively, and we have come far closer than people know
- Majority of parents and voters support school choice
- Large majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and independents support this
- Studies show that states with more top 100 public high schools also have school choice: Arizona and Florida
- Have you talked to the Lieutenant Governor about property tax?
- Yes, and the Speaker. And while they are hashing out their differences, $17.6 billion has already been agreed upon for property tax relief
- We are so close on a strategy for how to use that money
- What’s your plan for covid 19 disaster declaration?
- I maintained my disaster declaration because many local governments attempted to override my declaration
- There are decisions proposed to the supreme court right now deciding whether or not local jurisdictions have the authority to override governor power in response to a pandemic
- I was seeking legislation this session that would prevent local governments from overriding the governor’s disaster declaration; therefore, I will not renew the disaster declaration
- What is your message to voters who think that HB 900 bans books?
- Some of the books I’ve seen have had sexual graphic images that no child should see and students should be focusing on math, science, and literature
- It is wrong for children to see images like that
- Every minute of time spent on vulgar materials is time spent away from important lessons
- We need to increase our educational competitiveness with China
- Is there going to be any teacher pay raise accompanied with a push for school choice or is it just going to be school choice?
- You can expect to look like HB 100, which is a combination of funding, school choice, and elimination of STAAR Test. After this I will have given the biggest funding boost to education in the history of Texas