The House Public Education Committee met this week for two long days of invited and public testimony on a variety of topics, ranging from House Bill 3 (former school finance legislation) implementation and HB 4545 (tutoring and supplemental instruction legislation) to curriculum and instructional materials and parent engagement.
Monday’s hearing was a continuation of a hearing in May that was cancelled midway due to the mass shooting in Uvalde CISD. The hearing focused primarily on how previously passed legislation was being implemented and whether improvements needed to be made. TCTA previously submitted written testimony regarding reading academies and the need both for flexibility to complete academy requirements and for teachers to be paid for their completion.
The second day of hearings broached broader subjects such as K-12 alignment with higher education and the workforce, as well as curriculum and instructional materials.
Education Commissioner Mike Morath testified that due to changes made by previous legislators, teachers have become both curriculum/content developers and content deliverers. He stressed that this change means that teachers have had to develop completely new skill sets that are not necessarily taught in education preparation programs, and that take up more time and add to the teacher workload.
The parent engagement portion of the meeting included comprehensive discussions of private school vouchers, and two of the invited speakers were national advocates for school vouchers. This hearing is but the beginning of the voucher conversation we expect to take shape in the 2023 legislative session, which begins in January.