Physical ed, other bills approved by Senate committee

The Senate Education Committee on Tuesday approved the following bills: 

  • HB 692 by Joe Farias, allowing a student who is unable to participate in physical activity due to disability or illness to opt out of physical education classes. 
  • HB 742 by Todd Hunter, relating to student information required to be provided at the time of enrollment in public schools.  
  • HB 826 by Farias, relating to facilitating the enrollment in or transfer to a public school district of a student in the conservatorship of the state. 
  • HB 968 by Mark Strama, requiring removal of a student to a disciplinary alternative education program for the felony offense of aggravated robbery. TSTA supports this bill. 
  • HB 1334 by Alma Allen, relating to the effect of a delay by the State Board for Educator Certification in renewing an educator’s certification. TSTA supports this bill. 
  • HB 2135 by Scott Hochberg, providing for an exception for fifth and eighth graders from taking an assessment instrument in a subject if the student is completing a course in the subject for high school credit and also being administered the end of course exam in that subject. It provides for all students below high school taking high school credit and being administered end of course exams to have that score properly aggregated. It also allows for the commissioner to award a distinction designation for significant numbers of students performing satisfactorily on end of course instruments. TSTA supports this bill. 
  • HB 2366 by Vicki Truitt, allowing an open-enrollment charter school operated by a municipality to give a preference in admissions to children of employees of the municipality.  
  • HB 2909 by Dan Branch, relating to increasing awareness in this state of the importance of higher education. 
  • HB 2971 by Todd Smith, expanding confidentiality status for teacher evaluations to teachers at open enrollment charter schools.  TSTA supports this bill.   
  • HB 3278 by Shelton, relating to membership of the commissioner of education and the Texas Education Agency on certain advisory committees, commissions, task forces, and other similar entities. 
  • HB 3468 by Diane Patrick, relating to the assessment of public school students for college readiness and developmental education courses to prepare students for college-level coursework. A committee substitute was laid out that incorporated Sen. Shapiro’s SB 518 (relating to initiatives designed to improve performance of public school students, including initiatives specifically for students enrolled at the sixth, seventh, and eighth grade levels). 
  • HB 3506 by Mike Villarreal, allowing a school district to use transportation allotment funds to provide a bus pass or card for another transportation system to each student who is eligible to use the regular transportation system of the district but for whom the regular system is not feasible.  
  • Senate Bill 1813 by Sen. Zaffirini, relating to the applicability of the Education Code to Head Start programs and the authority of the commissioner of education to make a certain determination regarding those programs. 

The committee also heard the following bills but took no action on them: 

  • HB 1834 by Rep. Mark Shelton, relating to elimination of certain requirements for increasing community awareness of pre-kindergarten programs offered by or in partnership with school districts. 
  • HB 1942 by Diane Patrick, requiring bullying prevention to be included in the TEKS for health curriculum. It also provides for notifying parents about acts of bullying and requires districts to adopt a policy on bullying.  A committee substitute was laid out that makes changes to comply with IDEA. TSTA supports this bill.