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Senate Education Committee Votes Out P-TECH, Discusses Counselor, EpiPen, Course Sequencing Bills

03.16.2017 — The Senate Committee on Education met Thursday and heard testimony on the following bills:
  • SB 490 (Eddie Lucio) would require districts and charter schools to report, through PEIMS, the number of full-time equivalent school counselors (40 hours of counseling services per week) providing counseling services at a campus. The bill was left pending.

  • SB 826 (Larry Taylor) relates to the sequencing of required English and math courses. It would remove the requirement that students may take an advanced English course only after having successfully completing English I, English II, and English III. It would also remove the requirement that students may take an advanced mathematics course only after having successfully completing Algebra I and geometry. Elgin ISD Superintendent Jodi Duron testified on behalf of TASA and stressed that SB 826 would provide the flexibility for districts to structure their math course sequence in the order of Algebra I, Algebra II, and geometry, and thus allow a student to receive the advanced credit for Algebra II. Alvin ISD Assistant Superintendent Daniel Combs also testified on TASA’s behalf and noted that same flexibility would allow both students who are behind and need to retake a course and students who are ahead and on the path for early graduation to enroll in courses concurrently and meet their respective graduation deadlines. There was discussion about the need to make the bill effective retroactively. The bill was left pending.

  • SB 579 (Van Taylor) would add private schools to state law relating to the maintenance, administration, and disposal of epinephrine auto-injectors (EpiPens). Despite concerns by some committee members about regulating private schools, the private school association and other stakeholders testified in support of the bill because it would allow a physician to prescribe EpiPens in the name of the school (rather than being specific to an individual) with the standing order for administration to people reasonably believed to be experiencing anaphylaxis, allowing private schools to have EpiPens on-hand in case of emergency. The bill was left pending.

SB 22 (Larry Taylor) was voted out of the committee and will now go to the full Senate. The bill would create the Pathways in Technology Early College High School Program, which would enable students in grades 9-12 to combine high school courses and postsecondary courses. It would allow students to earn a high school diploma, associate degree, two-year postsecondary certificate or industry certification, and complete work training through an internship, apprenticeship, or other job training program.

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