The State Board of Education (SBOE) met the week of June 18th.  The Texas Education Agency (TEA) presented highlights of 18 bills.  Both chambers passed 141 education bills that became law.  In total, 1,474 education related bills were filed in the session.Of the 18 bills highlighted, the following 8 bills were focused on curriculum and instruction.

HB 1416 Accelerated Instruction (Update of HB 4545)

  • Eliminated the accelerated learning committee (ALC) requirement and clarified parental “opt out” protocols.
  • Decreased the maximum # of subjects to 2 while prioritizing RLA /math and reducing requirements to 15 hours for some students.
  • Increased student to teacher ratios from 3:1 to 4:1. Ratio waived with use of approved automated / online curriculum (list available in Spring 2024).
  • Maintains placement with a designated TIA teacher to satisfy requirements.

HB 1225 Paper STAAR Test

  • School districts may administer assessments in a paper format to students upon request of parent, guardian, or teacher, up to 3% of district enrollment.
  • The 3% excludes any student whose ARD committee determines that the student requires an accommodation that must be delivered in a paper format.
  • Request must be submitted to district not later than 9/15 for fall administration and 12/1 for spring administration of assessments.

HB 900 School Library Books

  • The Texas State Library and Archives Commission, with approval by the State Board of Education (SBOE), will adopt standards for school library collection development policies.
  • The standards adopted will be reviewed every 5 years and must prohibit harmful material, sexually explicit material, and pervasively vulgar or educationally unsuitable relevant material.
  • Library material vendors must issue appropriate ratings for sexually explicit and sexually relevant materials previously sold to school districts by April 2024
  • Vendors may not sell any books with sexually explicit content moving forward and must report a list to TEA of books already sold to libraries with such content.
  • Codifies guidelines to vendors to use in determining book ratings.

HB 3803 Parental Election for a Child to Repeat a Course (Update)

  • A parent or guardian may elect for a student, in a grade up to grade 8, to repeat the grade in which the student was enrolled during the previous school year or for a student to repeat a high school course.
  • For high school courses, the school district / open enrollment charter can deny if it is determined the student has met all requirements for graduation.

HB 1605 High Quality Curriculum (see below for more details from the SBOE work session)

  • Establishes an expanded process for the SBOE to review and approve high quality textbooks and instructional materials, supported by TEA, and repeals prior law authorizing TEA instructional materials portal and quality reviews.
  • Additional funding (on top of IMTA) provided to districts who choose to use SBOE approved materials:  $40 / student.  An additional $20 / student for districts printing state-owned Opensource Educational Resources (OER) materials.
  • SBOE textbook approval no longer limited to 50% of TEKS, no longer bound to an 8-year cycle.
  • Districts exempted from RFP processes if purchasing SBOE approved materials.
  • Publishers must offer parent portals for instructional materials transparency.
  • Local curriculum reviews are established, funded, and can be initiated via parent request, with SBOE approval of grade-level rigor rubric.
  • SBOE must add book / word list to the ELAR TEKS.
  • Teachers cannot be required to use bi-weekly planning time to create initial instructional materials unless there is a supplemental duty agreement with the teacher.
  • Requires the TEA to develop state-owned OER materials / textbooks in certain grades and subjects, which are subject to approval by the SBOE.
  • Prohibits three-cueing in early literacy instruction.

HB 3928 Dyslexia Evaluations

  • Requires someone with specific knowledge on dyslexia and related disorders on the evaluation team and Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) Committee when dyslexia is suspected / identified.
  • Board of trustees / governing board of charter schools must adopt a policy requiring that the district or school follow all state and federal requirements for the evaluation, identification, and services for dyslexia.
  • SBOE must revise its Dyslexia Handbook by 6/30/24 to remove references to “standard protocol dyslexia instruction” so that it is not distinct for all other types of dyslexia instruction.
  • Requires specific notification about the parent’s right to request special education evaluation when student is placed in a Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP) and when returning to school after DAEP.

SB 2124 Advanced Math

  • As soon as practicable, school systems must enroll 6th grade students in an advanced math course if they performed in the top 40% on the 5th grade STAAR math assessment or similar local measures.
  • This will require advanced math courses (e.g., Algebra I) be offered in middle school if those courses are not currently offered.
  • Parents may opt their children out of this requirement.