HB 1605 passed out of the Senate Education Committee on Monday. This is the bill that proposes to makehigh-quality instructional materials, including pre-written lesson plans, available to districts. While use of the materials is optional for districts, the bill includes a financial incentive to do so. The idea of uniform lesson plans has sparked concerns about limiting teachers’ ability to tailor instruction to their students’ needs. Some revisions have been made to address some of those concerns, although implementation at the local level is often problematic.
The bill includes language proposed by TCTA to address provisions that would have endangered teacher planning and preparation times, as well as language to clarify that districts cannot penalize teachers who do not follow the pacing of recommended instruction materials or the pacing of the recommended scope and sequence based on the teacher’s determination that students need more or less time in a specific area.
Other bills voted out of committee Monday include HB 473, which ensures strong parent involvement in the student threat assessment process (UPDATE: this bill was subsequently approved by the full Senate on Wednesday); HB 2484, protecting UIL officials from violent spectators/parents; and SB 2518, allowing special education teachers with bilingual students more time to obtain their bilingual education certification.