The House Public Education Committee met on March 9, 2021 to take up a number of bills. The hearing notice for this meeting can be found here and the video archive can be found here.


This report is intended to give you an overview and highlight of the discussions on the various topics the committee took up. It is not a verbatim transcript of the hearing but is based upon what was audible or understandable to the observer and the desire to get details out as quickly as possible with few errors or omissions.


HB 690 (Metcalf) – Relating to training requirements for a member of the board of trustees of an independent school district

  • Require a trustee to complete training on school safety; curriculum and materials developed by the State Board of Education in coordination with the Texas School Safety Center
  • Passed House chamber last session, but failed in the Senate
  • Talarico – What intent on “school safety” is about mental health, school culture and climate?
    • Most definitely SBOE will work with the School Safety Center on this


Grover Campbell, TASB – neutral

  • Security of students, faculty and staff is highest priority
  • No other elected officials, besides school board members, are required to take and undergo ongoing training
  • School board members in Texas have more training than any Trustee than any other state in the nation
  • Have been at least 142 safety courses presented by TASB, attended by over 13k trustees
  • Base level of subject matter may be helpful, would suggest any new training be added to existing required courses
  • Language was provided to bill author


Matt Fuller, Self – neutral

  • School safety training should be included in some sort of fashion
  • There is already a framework in place
  • Teachers ranked school board members 8th in the most unprepared group in our schools
  • Consider the resources needed to maintain and enhance the efforts
  • Offers research help
  • Huberty – We passed this, what happened?
    • Primary focus was SB 11, this was neglected in the process


Chairman Metcalf, Self – for

  • Doesn’t believe the training should be an alternative, it should be mandatory
  • Got tied up in the senate last session

HB 690 left pending


HB 699 (Rosenthal) – Relating to public school attendance and promotion requirements for students diagnosed with or undergoing related treatment for severe or life-threatening illnesses

  • The code requires excuses for temporary appointments but doesn’t include serious long-term illness
  • All absences related to the illness will not be assessed for promotion or truancy


Riley Chadel, Self – for

  • Diagnosed with Chron’s disease at age 12
  • Constant checkups required for treatment
  • All absences were excused, but received a notice for makeup classes
  • Went to football games to makeup credits for missed class
  • Bernal – The only problem was the attendance piece?
    • Correct
  • Bernal – You said you found research about people in similar situations?
    • Yes
  • King – You had no problem making up your academic work, so they required you to go to a football game?
    • Yes, our school recommended this in a meeting we went to
  • King – Did they document you being there? Frankly, this requirement is just ridiculous
    • No there was no proctoring, the school was Cook Middle School
  • Dutton – Did the football attendance increase your credit?
    • Yes, it made up for class time


Rep. Rosenthal, Self – for

  • King – Does the bill require verification for the illness? Unfortunately, we have people that would take advantage of this
    • There is a physician certification required and I’m open to further discussion

HB 699 left pending


HB 773 (VanDeaver) – Relating to indicators of achievement under the public school accountability system

  • Updated refile from last session, HB 1388, voted out of House unanimously.
  • Schools do not currently receive credit for offering CTE courses through statewide A-F accountability system.
  • Adds indicator of students who have successfully completed Career and Technical Education courses, giving credit to schools who offer this program while incentivizing other districts to expand their workforce training offerings


Kerry Gain, Chief Academic Officer for Del Valle ISD – for

  • Bringing programs of study back into the accountability system will make up for loss of losing CTE coherence sequence
  • Schools will on receive recognition if CTE students achieve an industry certification that is on a very short, restrictive list that was published a few years ago
  • We have a number of programs that are regionally recognized, which will allow students to walk into jobs, but those certifications are not acknowledged by school district


Mike Maroney, Texas Association of Manufacturers – for

  • Strongly supported HB 1388 last session
  • Important for career readiness

HB 773 left pending


HB 434 (Bell) – Relating to the curriculum requirements for public high school students

  • Support CTE students with additional elective option instead of required fine arts credit
  • Helps achieve the 60 by 30 goal
  • Talarico – Unintended consequences to the arts; intent is not to weaken arts education?
    • Fully support the arts K-8th grade, students decide their path at the entrance of high school and should choose their participation in arts
  • Talarico – Do you believe every kid should be exposed to the arts?
    • Yes, but they should have more opportunity through options in work force development
  • Huberty – Argues that the state has incentivized CTE enough, concerned about fine arts
  • VanDeaver – Requiring a CTE would be wasteful for those not subscribed to CTE program. Could there be any decrease in arts credits by passing this bill?
    • Not intentionally, local control issue
  • Meza – How would the schools examine the community fine arts curriculum?
    • This already exists in the Texas Education Code; the Superintendent sends it to the Commissioner for approval
  • Bernal – What’s your response to the fine arts opening or closing preferences for a career choice?
    • I wanted to be an electrician while my mother was an artist, I don’t think there will be a mass exodus, bill address workforce readiness problem
  • Bernal – Is there any scenario there are fewer fine arts opportunities?
    • It is about local control to address the funding
  • Bernal – The fine arts have fewer students, is there a chance in depleting these opportunities?
    • That is unintended, but what is the unintended consequence of taking this out of our education system 20 years ago?


Ann Graham, Executive Director of Texans for Arts – against

  • Arts credits provide soft skill development
  • Arts credits are more than credits, comprehensively teach social skills and team building, undermines arts programs


Todd Greathouse, Former Music Educator – against

  • The current CTE funding incentivizes school districts to push students into these programs
  • Add specificity to supplement arts curriculum so they are undermined


Ray Pieniazek, Executive Director of the Ag Teachers Association – for

  • Statistics show that 95% of CTE students graduate, above national average
  • Soft skills are developed as well
  • CTE students also can take art classes
  • Credits don’t need to be mutually exclusive, add more choice


Kerry Gain, Chief Academic Officer for Del Valle – for

  • Fear that fine arts will shrink is the same logic used to kill the 4 by 4 years ago, multiple examples of this, it’s about what the kids want to do
  • Every child should have the opportunity to explore their passion
  • Talarico – Arts must be included to be well-rounded, maybe choice should include core curriculum so it isn’t the arts against CTE?
    • HB 5 freed this up with the or option, the problem with saying and limits kid’s choices, kids are already exposed in K-8
    • That could waste their 28 curriculum choices, must be efficient with that space


Perry Crafton, President of the Texas Educational Theater Association – against

  • A student will not be required to take an arts credit in high school
  • Arts allows students to develop social skills and feelings
  • Gap in development could be detrimental
  • Arts help students discover their inner self


Dr. Elena Morgan, Self – against

  • Researched the effect of dance education at juvenile detention center
  • Fosters creativity and confidence


Lauren Anderson, Houston Ballet – against

  • Well-rounded development is necessary to an education
  • Marginalized communities affected the most


Holly Lyons, Texas Dance Educators Association – against

  • Dance improves motor functions and reduces stress
  • New perceptions awakened allow thinking in new ways
  • Stepping outside comfort zone is an important skill to learn
  • King – My daughter was in dance and my son wanted to be a welder, they both had choices; I’m struggling to understand why we are forcing kids into arts classes who don’t want to be in that class?
    • The self-discovery part is important and that is what makes it different


Jenny Parry, Director of Programs for the Texas Cultural Trust – against

  • Rural communities would lose access to arts education
  • One fine arts credit required as of right now
  • CTE counselors are removing them from arts classes without consultation
  • Only accountability is in the high school art credits


Joe Clark, Texas Arts Education Campaign – against

  • Delayed gratification is taught in high school
  • Culture is vital to student success


Costanza Radar, Founder and CEO of Creative Support Givers – against

  • Arts requirements are vital to health
  • Should increase art education not limit it
  • Powerful healing agents, reduces premature death by 31%


David Borland, Self – against

  • Arts is complementary to STEM


Jami Bevans, President of the Texas Art Education Association – against

  • There are 100 CTE offerings and 50 in Fine Arts at A&M Consolidated High School in College Station
  • Rural area nearby had 40 CTE offering and 7 fine arts, rural areas incentivized to eliminate arts when faced with tight budgets
  • Meza – Consider reallocating the minimum elective requirements to include both a fine art and CTE credit


Trina Martin, Parents for Arts Education – against

  • HB 5 in 2013 promoted fine arts
  • Music and Arts are important courses to a well-rounded education


Robert Floyd, Executive Director of Texas Music Educators Association – against

  • Actions through this committee have not minimized art education
  • TEA standard of a well-rounded education should be upheld


Mike Maroney, Texas Association of Manufacturers – for

  • Flexibility for courses is paramount to serving their interests and maximizing their utility


Nicole Wren, Former Computer Science and Math Teacher at a Title I school – for

  • This bill allows students to find another way to express themselves
  • A CTE option allows for gaming, programming, cooking, and etc. that also addresses art needs


Roxanne Schroeder-Arce, Associate Dean of Fine Arts Education at the University of Texas – against

  • Arts are pivotal to education
  • Dutton – Do we not trust the students or adults?
    • We do not know what we want until we are exposed to it
  • Dutton – You think that the bill will cause a choice to be driven away from fine arts?
    • I believe that is possible


Marco Higman, Texas Cultural Trust and Teacher – against

  • Students do not choose fine arts for the fear of the unknown
  • Concerns about tests and grades are alleviated during pandemic
  • Dutton – Would the students have chosen CTE or fine arts?
    • Honestly, they do not like either, but making uninterested kids interested is the mark of a good teacher


Christina Correa, Art Educator – against

  • Rio Grande Valley is historically overlooked
  • HB 434 expands options, but has potential to limit classes for special needs students
  • Seeks to reallocate an elective credit class as a solution
  • Bernal – You are the entire fine arts program at your school, what does elimination of the option
    • Who are we to decide what our student become? My students have pride in receiving AP Art credits. We need to provide opportunities for minorities to engage in the arts
  • Meza – I do not like putting arts and technology at each other, is there an either-or option we could do so that we do not sacrifice arts for CTE?
    • Allocating an elective credit could be a solution


Representative Bell, Self – for

  • This is a very philosophical issue; I would be very disappointed in local leadership if they were to eliminate art curriculum under this bill
  • Huberty – If there a fiscal note on this? Consider funding arts in same regard that we fund CTE
    • No fiscal note
  • Huberty – Should we fix the bill in such a way that does not compromise the arts?
    • I would be open to that
  • Buckley – Fine arts requirement is as important for those entering a trade, I concur with Huberty

HB 434 left pending


HB 1147 (Huberty) Relating to military readiness for purposes of the college, career, or military readiness outcomes bonus under the Foundation School Program.

  • Trying to fix bill from last session
  • Texas National Guard supports the bill


Kerry Gain, Chief Academic officer for Del Valle ISD – for

  • Inclusion of military readiness should be reconsidered, give recognition to districts
  • We have a lot of kids who enlist because it is a good option


Brigadier General Monie Ulis, Director of the Joint Staff for the Texas Military Department – Resource

  • Current statute does not include National Guard
  • Provides competitive advantage regarding induction into National Guard

HB 1147 left pending


HB 547 (Frank) – Relating to authorizing equal opportunity for access by homeschooled students to University Interscholastic League sponsored activities; authorizing a fee

  • Allows homeschooled students, who’s educational needs are being met at home, access to extracurricular activities through UIL
  • Ends UIL prohibition against homeschool students participating in UIL activities
  • Students would be required to prove grade level proficiency through standardized tests and meet all other UIL eligibility standards and school policies; not guaranteed a spot
  • If student is enrolled in public school and leaves, student would not be eligible to participate in UIL as a homeschooled student
  • 77% support of homeschool community approval, in 35 other states already
  • Could see transfer from homeschool back into public school through this implementation
  • Meza – Could homeschool students sign up for virtual learning that correspond to UIL event? Ex. Students in UIL Debate taking online school course in public speaking
    • Happy to look at classes that compliments UIL participation, though some students do not flourish online
  • Meza – Some homeschool families want access to public school curriculum; wouldn’t this be a way to access?
    • Texas Virtual School Network is only accessible to those enrolled in public school system
    • Virtual would allow some access though I do not know strings attached
  • Talarico – Limitation to attendance zones?
    • According to open enrollment zones, treated just like public school; no poaching athletes
  • Buckley – Would homeschool students be required to go to before-school workouts or practices?
    • Any requirements to UIL student are required by homeschool students as well
  • Buckley – Eligibility requirements moving through semesters would be a parent affidavit?
    • Standardized test and grade level submitted by parent
  • Huberty – Geographic boundaries, what about recruiting?
    • Follow same attendance zone guidelines as public-school districts
  • VanDeaver – Previous Athletic Participation Form is filled out in public school transfers to ensure that a student is not transferring for athletic purposes; is that a part of your bill?
    • No, but it could be; we are instructing UIL to create those procedures
  • Bernal – Any thought to allowing districts to opt in or out?
    • Could consider, odd idea of turning students away
  • Bernal – Only afforded the right of trying out


Joe Martin, Executive Director of the Texas High School Coaches Association – against

  • Imbalance of academic assessment for at home and public students for the admittance into UIL leagues
  • Bill creates uneven playing field for students, UIL is a privilege that homeschool families opted out on


Paula Broadway, Homeschool Parent – against

  • Redefines homeschooling to allow for UIL admission
  • Homeschool considered historically as private school
  • Homeschool students to be tested to prove they are eligible in the bill
  • STAR test not required for public school students in UIL consideration
  • Homeschoolers would be the only private school singled out for testing


Kevin McCasland, Superintended of Olton ISD – against

  • UIL can be used as an incentive for academic progress, unsure how we could test progress of homeschool students
  • Meza – If homeschool student signed up for virtual learning to supplement UIL curriculum, would they be open?
    • More so concerned with standardization and uniformity in expectation


Olivia Lawson, Homeschool Student – for

  • Nearest sport group is 1.5 hours away
  • Public school was too easy and below the prior level at homeschool


Dr. Jamey Harrison, Deputy Director of the UIL – neutral

  • Currently not allowed to participate in UIL activities
  • Virtual learning is possible right now under UIL rule, any class that a student takes online through the school district counts toward UIL rule about being a full-time student, if reaching at least four hours a day
  • Bell – The child would have to attend school in their district?
    • Yes
  • Bell – Is there a requirement to live in district for a year unless the UIL determines they did not move for athletic reasons?
    • Correct, just not varsity level
  • Bell – If they decide to take advantage of this, they would be immediately eligible in this scenario if the bill is successful?
    • Correct
  • Meza – If they had four hours of virtual learning, they would qualify for UIL?
    • Yes
  • Huberty – Why would we not reimagine education? Learning differently, we found our system was broken through the events of this year
    • Schools will need to adapt aggressively. Like playing on a school team, but adding homeschoolers does not make it a school team, more of a community team
  • Huberty – Everybody pays property taxes, even if they do not go to school?
    • Correct, middle ground could be online education


Jayla Ward, Homeschool Graduate – for

  • Homeschool private organizations provide team structures, but not all homeschool communities have same accessibility
  • Rural areas should have opportunities to grow like I did


Faith Buzzie, President of Texans for Homeschool Freedom – against

  • Homeschool is private in the state of Texas, language in this bill takes power away from homeschool communities
  • Has met one family that is for something like this
  • Bernal – If the bill was to pass, what would that look like in the real world in your opposition?
    • Open door to future legislation to regulate homeschooling. Not codified currently in state law
  • Bernal – Would it directly affect their ability to homeschool?
    • No, could affect homeschool teams now if players move to public school teams


Jeremy Newman, Policy Director for the Texas Homeschool Coalition – for

  • Adding virtual learning into homeschool would not be conducive to school day, as four hours a day is usually whole day of learning
  • Homeschoolers score above the national average, do not have as long a school day due to one-on-one learning
  • 35 states have done this transition successfully, never increased regulation on homeschooling
  • VanDeaver – Is it limited to only homeschool in those 35 states?
    • It varies


Kate Craig, Homeschool Parent – against

  • Bad experience with public school
  • HB 547 is well-intended, but does not want to relinquish freedom for benefits


Elise Eaton, Mother of Homeschooled and Public Educated Children – against

  • Homeschooled children have participated in other non-UIL activities
  • Outside opportunities already ready
  • Concerned about unequal requirements and the door it opens to regulation


Rep. Frank, Self – for

  • You are not required to participate in the first place, so it does not affect them

HB 547 left pending