HB 2162 by Rep. Harold Dutton is set on the House calendar today, Friday, April 28. The House goes into session at 9 a.m.
TASA went to Rep. Dutton’s office prior to the hearing on this bill in March and asked to speak with someone to discuss our concerns with the bill. Unfortunately, his staff was not available. We also submitted written testimony (signed by TASA and several other education organizations) to the House Committee Clerk so that the testimony would be distributed to every member of the House Public Education Committee prior to the hearing, and we submitted the written testimony for public record on the House Web Portal.
We believe they will add language to clarify that the results of the reading instruments will not be used for accountability purposes for kindergarten students, which would be a great addition to the bill.
Unfortunately, the committee substitute for HB 2162 that will be voted on today does not address our concerns. The main points of the substitute that are concerning to TASA members include:
- SECTION 2 removes a district’s discretion to select an early reading instrument of their choice and mandates that they must only use commissioner-selected instruments.
- SECTION 4 requires districts to pay a “tutoring service provider” up to $1,000 for students who do not perform satisfactorily on the early reading instruments for two consecutive years. The tutoring provider must be selected from a commissioner’s list of approved vendors.
- It is not required that the tutoring vendor(s) have participated in the state’s reading academies as all K-3 teachers and principals are required to do.
- It is not required that the tutoring vendor(s) have passed the state’s Science of Teaching Reading certification exam as all K-3 teachers are required to do.
- This section also adds high stakes to the reading instruments that are intended as diagnostic tools, to inform instruction for our youngest students.
- SECTION 6 repeals Texas Education Code that requires the commissioner to annually certify that there is sufficient funding to administer the early reading instruments and provide the necessary accelerated instruction making the bill’s provisions an unfunded mandate.
What Action to Take
Please contact your House Representative as soon as possible this morning via phone, text, or email and ask that they respectfully vote “No” on HB 2162 if you have concerns with the bill.
Look up who represents you in the Texas House/find contact info
You may also contact the TASA Governmental Relations team if you need more information or have questions.