TCTA | Committee chair loses battle over accelerated learning bill
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Committee chair loses battle over accelerated learning bill

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HB 4545 by Rep. Harold Dutton is one of several of the committee chairman’s bills that have struggled to stay alive in recent days. Dutton has received blowback for certain actions he has taken as chair of the House Public Education Committee, including reviving a “dead” bill addressing transgender students in athletic activities out of retribution for legislators voting against one of his bills.

HB 4545 addresses several issues related to struggling students and accelerated instruction. It initially passed the House Monday, but failed Tuesday on a 62-78 vote. It could be reconsidered later this week, due to a parliamentary maneuver.

The bill made several changes to address the instruction of struggling students, such as removing the requirement that students pass 5th and 8th grade STAAR exams for promotion to 6th/9th grade, and requiring implementation of accelerated learning committees.

Some provisions of concern to TCTA included allowing parents of a struggling student to choose their student’s teacher (TCTA had suggested amendments to this provision to address our concerns) and a section granting the commissioner new authority over a grant program and related requirements and interventions.

Many in the education community were concerned that the bill included outcomes-based funding that would provide additional money to districts and charter schools for certain achievements related to accelerated instruction based on test performance. The outcomes-based funding section was removed via an amendment on the floor, before the bill failed.

A similar bill, though without some of the worst provisions of HB 4545, was voted out of the Senate Education Committee Monday.