The 88th Texas Legislature has been called back to Austin for its third special session, focusing on border security, COVID-19 vaccine mandates, and school choice, according to the agenda that is set forth by Governor Greg Abbott.
Funding and School Choice Initiatives
Previously, in the 88th Regular Session that ended in June, approximately $4 billion in extra funding that had been budgeted and intended for public education enhancements and teacher pay raises was left unapproved due to a lack of agreement on the debate around school choice. Now, new public education funding and school choice initiatives are being reconsidered jointly in the third special session by members of the legislature.
HB 1 Proposes School Funding Increase
Texas House Education Chairman Brad Buckley (R-Salado) has proposed HB 1, a comprehensive bill aiming to increase school funding. This bill includes the basic allotment, provides teacher pay raises, and tackles school choice. Collaborating closely with TCEA, the bill incorporates two significant educational initiatives and legislative priorities that TCEA has long advocated for.
- The establishment of a Digital Teaching Micro Credential which would recognize educators’ expertise in virtual and blended education.
- The implementation of recommendations from the Texas Virtual School Commission; including professional development grants for professional development in virtual instruction.
TCEA’s Role and Legislative Priorities
TCEA will continue to play a robust role, actively working to ensure that these transformative educational initiatives are passed into law. TCEA has advocated for good public policy regarding the use of technology in our classrooms and districts for many years. We have been successful in helping to shape the policies regarding the availability and use of digital tools and resources, but there are still barriers that must be addressed.
TCEA thanks members like Chairman Brad Buckley, Representative Keith Bell, Senator Paul Bettencourt, Representative Steve Allison, and Chairman Brandon Creighton for their support of TCEA legislative priorities.