The House Public Education Committee met for several hours Tuesday to consider 10 bills:
One of the most discussed bills of the hearing, HB 1605 by Chair Brad Buckley, involves the issue of “high quality instructional materials.” This is a topic that TCTA has addressed in several formats, including a discussion session at our annual convention and a recent magazine article. High quality instructional materials (HQIM) are the basis of an initiative supported by Commissioner Mike Morath to provide districts and teachers with instructional materials, including pre-written lessons plans. While designed to help alleviate the time some teachers spend in developing lesson plans, there are concerns that misimplementation of such an initiative could result in expectations that teachers provide uniform instruction, without a clear ability to tailor plans to the needs of their students.
TCTA Director of Legislation Paige Williams testified on the bill, expressing concerns about the potential lack of teacher autonomy noted above, as well as other provisions that would encroach on protected planning and preparation time, and a section that could inadvertently diminish current teacher immunity laws.
Williams testified in favor of TCTA-initiated HB 1662 by Rep. Burns, which includes provisions to ensure that employees are aware of and have access to all of the administrative policies and regulations that affect their employment.
TCTA’s Holly Eaton testified in favor of HB 2929 by Rep. Lozano, which is a “clean-up” bill addressing some unintended consequences of the 2021 legislation that pared down training requirements for teachers. Eaton was a significant factor in the development and passage of that legislation and has been heavily involved in the subsequent implementation efforts.
Much of the day’s testimony centered on HB 900 by Patterson, which regulates library books. As filed, the bill would make distinctions between “sexually relevant” and “sexually explicit” material, the latter of which would be subject to heavier regulations and prohibitions.