The Texas House Public Education Committee will meet Tuesday afternoon with a long agenda to consider several key bills, including proposed legislation that addresses keeping our school buses safe and bills seeking to reduce overtesting in grades pre-K through 8.
Send an online letter to your legislators urging support for House Bill 2367 by Alma Allen (D-Houston), which strengthens the Safe Schools Act to give school bus drivers more authority to remove students for disruptive or dangerous conduct and refer them for possible disciplinary action. It would provide drivers with more tools to deal with misconduct that can threaten life and limb as we transport our children to school.
You can also send an online letter asking lawmakers to oppose the misuse of testing and fix the broken accountability system. (You can reference your support for specific bills below by adding your comments to the letter.) Bills that are steps in the right direction for these changes include:
• HB 504 by Ana Hernandez Luna (D-Houston), which would block the spread of excessive and inappropriate testing to pre-kindergarten and kindergarten. HB 504 would restrict both state and district assessments of pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students (with limited exceptions, such as for certain diagnostic tests for reading and language comprehension).
• HB 866 by Dan Huberty (R-Houston), which would allow certain students who perform well on STAAR tests in grades 3 and 5 to “test out” of taking subsequent tests in grades 4, 6 and 7.
• HB 2836 by Bennett Ratliff (R-Coppell), which would require tests to be designed to reduce the amount of time it takes to complete them (two hours for students in grades 3-5, and three hours in grades 6-8, instead of the current tests aligned to a four-hour time limit). The bill also would require the state to reduce the amount of testing in lower grades to the minimum required under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
When you send your online letters, you’ll also see phone numbers to call your lawmakers directly to speak up in support of these bills.