Bill hearings include elimination of 4-day instructional week;… | TCTA
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Bill hearings include elimination of 4-day instructional week; prohibition on mid-year retirements

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The Senate Education Committee met well into the night Wednesday after a long day on the Senate floor. Among the bills scheduled, all of which were left pending:

  • SB 595 by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst is the same as HB 1149 (Rep. Swanson) that was heard in Tuesday’s House Public Education Committee meeting. The bill would require parent consent for any type of psychological tests or treatment; TCTA and others expressed concerns that the language might prohibit informal “check-ins” with students and both Kolkhorst and Swanson intend to clarify in a substitute that such check-ins would be allowed.
  • SB 418 by Sen. Angela Paxton expands the laws relating to school transfers by eliminating the requirement that the districts be adjoining.
  • SB 1557 by Sen. Tan Parker provides that the parent of a student who had been victimized by a school employee could transfer the student to another public school campus or receive funding for the student to attend a private school.
  • SB 2141 by Sen. Parker would prohibit the teaching of coding, computer programming, or other technology application that would require the use of electronic devices or the Internet for grades K-5, only allowing instruction in Internet safety and keyboard use.
  • SB 2428 by Chair Brandon Creighton would remove the automatic placement of a student into a DAEP for possession or use of an e-cigarette.

The committee voted out a bill (SB 2368 by Sen. Donna Campbell) that would require districts to have at least 175 instructional days, which would effectively end the practice of 4-day instructional weeks; as well as SB 410 by Sen. Paxton that would require 7th and 8th grade students to receive instruction on fetal development as part of the required health curriculum.

The House Pensions, Investments and Financial Services Committee heard a bill that would eliminate the ability of teachers (but not other employees) to retire mid-year. TCTA strongly opposed HB 2452 by Rep. Ryan Guillen through testimony at the hearing. The bill was left pending.