The 88th Texas Legislature is in full swing and the Governor and Lt. Governor have each released their priorities for the legislative session, which include plenty of education related issues. Governor Abbott announced seven emergency items, one of which includes school safety. Additionally, Lt. Governor Patrick’s released his priority legislation, which includes items such as teacher pay, school safety, and more. The Speaker of the House and Lt. Governor have also announced their chambers’ respective committee assignments so members can begin their work vetting legislation.
Senator Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) will serve as the Chair of the Senate Education Committee and Representative Brad Buckley (R-Salado) will serve as Chair of the House Committee on Public Education.
House Bill 1 (HB 1) and Senate Bill 1 (SB 1)
In the biennial state budget of HB 1 and SB 1, the base bills of the House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees fully fund public education and include two priority items for TCEA: 1) the IMTA (Instructional Material and Technology Allotment) and 2) cybersecurity funding. The bills include $1,050 billion for the IMTA and $55 million for TEA to provide cybersecurity services for school districts. TCEA will be advocating for an increase in both of these amounts.
Computer Science Pipeline Initiative
In addition to what is already included in the base budgets, CS4TX, a consortium of tech companies as well as computer science (CS) based nonprofits are asking for an appropriation for the new Computer Science Pipeline Initiative. This initiative would recruit new educators to the field of computer science through professional development and bring Texas public schools into compliance with the Texas Administrative Code that requires (CS) education in all high schools.
Other Legislation TCEA Is Following
Senators and Representatives have already started filling legislation that TCEA is following including:
- SB 717 relating to school district cybersecurity
- HB 1569 relating to the creation of a Computer Science Advisory Council
- HB 1291 relating to coding for video games
- HB 2106 relating to virtual student and family engagement plans
- SB 928 relating to student data privacy
- HB 2386 relating to supplemental virtual instruction
Many bills have yet to be filed and are still being drafted by the Texas Legislative Council. Several of these include expanding broadband and recommendations from the Texas Virtual School Commission among others. Stay tuned for monthly updates from TCEA as the 88th Texas Legislature continues!
Suggested Reading: New TEKS Update – Technology Applications (K-8) and CTE Computer Science