TCTA | Senate considers more of Abbott's education agenda
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Senate considers more of Abbott's education agenda

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On Wednesday, the Texas Senate considered three of the five education-related topics on Gov. Greg Abbott's agenda for the special session. (SB 7, legislation authorizing a 13th check for school retirees, and SB 9, addressing instruction regarding family and dating violence and child abuse, had passed the Senate earlier in the week.)

Along largely partisan lines, the Senate passed SB 3, commonly referred to as the "critical race theory" bill; and SB 2, relating to how transgender students participate in school sports.

The Senate also passed legislation that had not been addressed in the first special session - SB 15, which governs how districts can continue to provide virtual instruction in limited circumstances and receive full state funding. That bill passed 27-2. TCTA had recommended changes to provide some safeguards in SB 15, two of which were addressed in amendments that were added on the Senate floor:

  • At TCTA's initiative, Sen. Bryan Hughes added language to ensure that a teacher can only be assigned to full-time virtual instruction if the teacher agrees to the assignment or it is included in the teacher's employment contract/agreement.
  • The bill had included an expiration date of 2027 for many provisions of the bill, but that was changed to 2023 to align with the report of a new Commission on Virtual Education, which will make recommendations to the legislature no later than December 31, 2022.

As of Thursday morning, the House remains unable to conduct business due to the lack of a quorum, so any legislation passed by the Senate is currently in limbo.