As of Monday, May 29, sine die for the 88th regular session of the Texas legislature, here is a status update on several bills impacting curriculum, instruction, and libraries.

HB 1416 (Bell) Relating to accelerated instruction provided to public school students who fail to achieve satisfactory performance on certain assessment instruments.

  • Modifies the accelerated instruction requirements of HB 4545 from the 87th legislative session
  • Districts will have more flexibility in structuring supplemental instruction
  • Reduces the required hours of targeted instruction for certain students, based on Commissioner‚Äôs rules
  • Reduces the requirements for an accelerated learning committee for some students.
  • Sent to Governor for signature

HB 900 (Patterson) Relating to the regulation of library materials sold to or included in public school libraries.

  • Effective September 1, 2023; library materials vendors have until April 2024 to establish book ratings.
  • Requires library material vendors to label materials sold to schools as “sexually explicit” or “sexually relevant,‚ÄĚ retroactively to include all materials sold, and submit lists to the Texas Education Agency of materials sold to school libraries.
  • Parental rights regarding library materials are also codified in the bill.
  • Sent to the Governor for signature

For school districts, uncertainty about implementation of this law may be clarified through rules to be established by the Texas State Library Commission, State Board of Education, and Texas Education Agency. For distributors and retailers of library materials, uncertainty and potential liability regarding compliance may lead to a temporary or even long-term pause on marketing library materials in Texas.

HB 1605  (Buckley) Relating to instructional materials and technology.

  • Significantly changes the way instructional materials are purchased and adopted
  • Creates an Open Educational Resources (OER) portal under the guidance of an OER Advisory Board and the Texas Education Agency
  • Combines the Texas Resource Review process and the State Board of Education adoption process, with instructional materials categorized into three tiers based on whether the material fully covers the TEKS for a given subject and grade level or is a supplemental product covering a subset of TEKS
  • Establishes an additional $40/student allotment would be provided for certain state-adopted instructional materials
  • Codifies rights of parents to review instructional materials for foundation subjects
  • Sent to Governor for signature

The rulemaking process under the authority of the State Board of Education, the Commissioner, and the Texas Education Agency will be essential to determining the extent of the changes. A more detailed analysis will be forthcoming.

SB 2124 (Creighton) Relating to an advanced mathematics program for public school students in middle school.

  • Establishes automatic enrollment in 6th grade advanced math courses for fifth grade students who meet specific achievement criteria in mathematics, with a goal to increase participation in advanced math courses and to accelerate students‚Äô achievement in high school advanced math
  • Parents may opt students out of advanced courses
  • Signed by Governor and effective immediately

Public comments in support of the bill were submitted by a number of individuals and organizations, including Dallas Commit, the E3 Alliance, Educate Texas, and Hays CISD.

A few bills of note relating to instruction that did NOT advance prior to the end of the session include:

HB 890 (Bell) relating to parental rights and public school responsibilities regarding instructional materials. Included a prohibition on instruction  in gender identity for PreK-12th grade students.

SB 1861 and HB 681 relating to virtual schools*

HB 2273 relating to civics instruction

SB 1515 relating to the 10 Commandments*

SB 1396 relating to Bible reading in public schools*

SB 164 and SB 1721 relating to the display of the national motto and founding documents of the United States in public schools

*Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has included these bills on his letter to the Governor requesting items for special session consideration.