AUSTIN — HB 2824, a bill that would allow a select few “high performing” school districts to bring new innovation to the classroom, will instead just let these districts off the hook for maintaining strong accountability.
“HB 2824 will allow the participating districts to end accountability measures,” said Texas Association of Business President and CEO Bill Hammond. “How can we tell if these so-called innovations are working if we do not test these students to see if they are actually learning anything?”
Serious questions also exist about graduating students who are career or college ready. “Some of these ‘high performing’ districts aren’t that high performing when it comes to actually graduating students who are ready for college or a career now,” said Hammond. “Allowing these districts to experiment with our students’ education will not do anything to increase the number of college or career ready students and will likely make things much worse.”
According to numbers from the Texas Education Agency (TEA), 17 percent of students statewide graduate with commended scores in both English and math, but four of the “high performing” districts do not even meet that standard now. In one case, only two percent of the students in a district identified as “high performing” (Lancaster ISD) graduate commended in both English and math. “Why are we even considering legislation that would allow these numbers to drop even farther below what is already a low statewide average?” asked Hammond.
It is also a mystery as to how this bill will be paid for. The cost is just short of $1 million in the first year and $800,000 a year after that. “What we don’t need to be doing is adding to the overall cost of education without identifying a clear revenue source for that money,” said Hammond.
The Senate will consider this bill on its local and uncontested calendar tomorrow. “I am urging Senators to take this bill off of the local and uncontested calendar, so that it can be debated fully,” said Hammond. “We need to slow down and really consider carefully what this bill will do, and not do, for the quality of our education in Texas.”
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Founded in 1922, the Texas Association of Business is a broad-based, bipartisan organization representing more than 3,000 small and large Texas employers and 200 local chambers of commerce.