Teacher appraisal bill dies, but watch out

Still another anti-teacher bill, SB4, which would have established a new teacher evaluation system heavily dependent on student test scores, died on the House floor Tuesday night. It was too far down the calendar and failed to be debated before the midnight deadline for Senate bills to pass second reading in the House. But the fight isn’t over yet.

Several education-related bills still are alive in the Senate or in conference committee, and anti-teacher, anti-public school provisions still could be attached to some of them, including SB1811, before the session ends next Monday.

The House on Tuesday appointed its conferees on SB1811, a fiscal matters bill that could become a vehicle, during the session’s closing days, for school finance amendments as well as amendments authorizing vouchers, larger class sizes and a host of other education-related legislation.

 The House conferees are Jim Pitts, Sylvester Turner, Myra Crownover, Rob Eissler, and Charlie Geren. Senate conferees are Robert Duncan, Tommy Williams, Royce West, Dan Patrick and Robert Deuell.

Since SB1581 died on the House floor on Monday night, SB1811 will be particularly tempting for legislators who want to slip failed legislation into law. Eissler, the House Public Education chairman and one of the conferees, is the sponsor of House Bill 400, a wide-ranging anti-teacher bill that died on the House floor two weeks ago but could be resurrected as provisions added to SB1811 or to another bill.

TSTA will continue to monitor developments on SB1811; on HB6, the instructional allotments bill that the Senate expanded on Tuesday to promote charters and a virtual school network; and on several other education bills in conference committees.

Wednesday is the last day for the House to pass Senate bills on third reading and for the Senate to pass House bills with amendments. The rest of the week will deal with either the House concurring with Senate amendments to House bills or the appointment of conference committees and voting on conference committee reports.

In other action on Tuesday, the House accepted Senate amendments to the following bills and sent them to the governor:

  • HB 1610 by Larry Gonzales, relating to employment termination procedures applicable to a teacher who is convicted of a felony.
  • HB 1942 by Diane Patrick and Leticia Van de Putte, relating to bullying in public schools.