LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

HB 281, which would have had negative consequences for PTA, died last week in the House Calendars Committee, so it did not reach debate by the full House. If you reached out to your representatives regarding this bill, a big THANK YOU! The Senate had a version of this bill, SB 29, which was fast-tracked through the House last week. After much debate and proposed amendments, the Senate voted down the bill. Thank you to our volunteers and friends for supporting PTA by voicing concern over this bill and its companion legislation to your elected officials.

HB3 (School finance bill) and STAAR: Per HB 3, the STAAR test would be turned into mini-tests for each subject area. Tests would be administered in a 3-4 week window. Individual tests would be no longer than 45 minutes long—combined they MUST be shorter than the current STAAR subject test for the area.

Reading test would be renamed “Language Arts” (LA) with writing for grades 3-8. (Currently there are standalone tests for grades 4 and 7, and these would be eliminated). Due to this change, the LA test would be shorter than Reading/Writing combined, but longer than Reading test alone. Rep Huberty added an amendment to HB 3 to not eliminate the “Approaches Grade Level” standard for passing STAAR.

Over the next five years all STAAR testing would be administered online. This would allow for immediate results for most students. There will be a pilot to test assessments other than STAAR.

-- Julie O’Sullivan and Ruby Powers, PTA Legislative Co-Chairs