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The Senate Education Committee will meet at 9 a.m., Tuesday, April 27, to hear testimony on the following bills:

SB 123 Johnson
Would require the State Board of Education to integrate social and emotional skills into the TEKS for K-12, beginning with the 2021-2022 school year. It specifies that the following skills should be included: self-management, interpersonal skills, social awareness, responsible decision-making skills, and self-awareness.

SB 180 Lucio
Would strengthen the training for educators and principals to better serve and better educate students with disabilities. It requires that any training requirements for a certificate must require the individual demonstrate: 1. basic knowledge of disability categories under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and conditions that can be considered a disability under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and how these conditions and disabilities can affect student learning and development; 2. competence in the use of proactive instructional techniques; and 3. competence in the use of evidence-based inclusive instructional practices. The bill adds two additional criteria for educator preparation programs to be eligible for approval or renewal of approval: 1. incorporate proactive instructional techniques throughout coursework and across content area; 2. integrate inclusive practices for all students, including students with disabilities. The bill adds to language on principal certification to require that qualifications must emphasize the ability to create an inclusive school environment and foster parent involvement, as well as requiring knowledge of developing curriculum and instructional management for students with disabilities. It requires the board to include options that involve interaction with a diverse student population, including students with disabilities when they are proposing rules to provide options for field-based experience or internships required for certification. It requires that school districts, when designing staff development, use procedures that ensure training for for staff that incorporates proactive instructional planning techniques, integrates inclusive and evidence-based instructional practices for all students, including students with disabilities.

SB 325 West
Would allow a district to expand a school-based health center to include delivery of mental health services, including mental health education. The bill also expands the membership of a local health education and health care advisory council to include at least one person who is a mental health care professional licensed to practice in Texas. Includes improved mental health as a measure that must be reported on by DSHS biennially in regards to the relative efficacy of services delivered by school based health centers.

SB 393 Miles
Currently, school districts and campuses are evaluated on three “domains” of indicators of achievement: student achievement, school progress, and closing the gaps. SB 393, as filed, would specify that for evaluation purposes in the “closing the gap” domain, disaggregated data should be used from African-American and Hispanic students as a whole as well as disaggregated by sex. The bill further requires that information reported may only be used for accountability purposes after the accountability ratings have been assigned for the 2024-2025 school year.

SB 971 Zaffirini
Would allow a local workforce development board to permit a child care provider to identify and refer children to the board who might be eligible for subsidized child care services.

SB 998 Hughes
Would allow qualifying counties (population less than 55,000 and who adopted a county equalization tax that is still in effect) to order an election on revoking the county equalization tax under the procedures that governed such elections when the equalization tax was initially adopted

SB 1109 West
Would require that the SBOE adopt rules that would require students to receive instruction on the prevention of child abuse, family violence, and dating violence during middle school and high school as part fo the TEKS health curriculum. The bill would also require that a school district’s dating violence policy must include: a clear statement that dating violence is not tolerated at school; reporting procedures and guidelines for victims of dating violence; and information regarding TEKS related to dating violence. Schools must also make age-appropriate educational materials including information on dating violence and resources for students seeking help available to students.

SB 1792 West
Would require school districts to establish a leave pool that has at least one day of personal leave per district employee in it. Employees must be allowed to voluntarily contribute to the leave pool. Policies adopted by school boards for administering the leave pool must ensure that the number of personal leave days an employee is permitted to use from the pool is related to the number of personal leave days the employee has contributed to the pool.

SB 2023 Powell
Would create the Texas Tutor Corps Program that would develop and support a statewide network of tutors as well as provide grants to certain qualifying school districts and open-enrollment charter schools. The program will only be established if the Legislature appropriates money specifically for this purpose. The bill establishes minimum standards for the program, including matching autos with students based on the tutor’s expertise, providing high-quality pre-service training and professional support for tutors; provide compensation for tutors, etc. It also establishes which types of individuals are permitted to serve as tutors. These include certified and retired educators; paraprofessionals and teacher’s aides; recent graduates of educator preparation programs, among others. The bill provides what grant money may be used for. The bill also creates a COVID-19 learning loss and student acceleration pilot program. The pilot program would be for the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school year and would require that participating school districts and open-enrollment charter schools provide tutoring intervention to students to address learning loss due to the disruption in public education caused by the COVID-10 pandemic. The pilot program would only be created if funding is appropriated by the legislature for that purpose.

SB 2081 Menendez
Would require that prekindergarten classrooms maintain a ratio of no less than 1 certified teacher or teacher’s aid for each 11 students. The bill would permit the commissioner to exempt a district from this requirement, provided that the school district apply for the exemption no later than October 1 or the 30th day after the first school day that the district exceeds the required ratio. A school district that repeatedly fails to comply with the mandatory ratio of 1:11 may be held accountable by the commissioner via the provisions of Chapter 39A. The bill applies beginning with eh 2021-2022 school year.

Watch the hearing.