Senate Committee on Education

Committee Information
Chair Vice-Chair Members:
Clerk: Tara Korstad
Tel: (512) 463-0355


Schedule, Minutes, Witness List and Bills Referred to Committee Schedule, Minutes, Witness List and Bills Referred to Committee

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Interim Charges

The Senate Education Committee is charged with conducting a thorough and detailed study of the following issues, including state and federal requirements, and preparing recommendations to address problems or issues that are identified.

1. Study the implementation of SB 186 (relating to the computation of public school dropout and completion rates) and make recommendations for improvements to current statutes and programs. Explore opportunities for maximizing current resources and identifying additional state, federal, and privately-sponsored programs for at-risk students that offer innovative delivery of educational services that encourage students to finish school. Focus on mentoring programs, including, but not limited to Communities in Schools, and the use of technology to provide instruction.

2. Study the performance of high school students on TAKS, the new state assessment instrument. Make recommendations to improve any performance deficiencies that are identified by the review, including alternative school schedules, mentoring programs, technology-based applications, and other innovative solutions.

3. Study progress of implementation of SB 76 (relating to the provision of subsidized child-care services). Evaluate and make recommendations on opportunities for Texas to increase the educational component of the Head Start program. Examine and make recommendations relating to access to quality early education, including estimated costs, teacher availability, learning requirements, and access to services for students with special needs.

4. Evaluate opportunities and make recommendations on increasing the supply of qualified teachers and improving their working conditions. The evaluation and recommendations should focus on preparation, recruitment, certification, and retention of qualified teachers, while not restricting alternative certification. Conduct an assessment of the impact of teacher incentives, including mentoring programs and other creative options for retaining teachers, and develop recommendations for implementing incentive programs.

5. Study and make recommendations relating to the effectiveness of the current process of selecting, funding, and distributing textbooks. Identify areas where the current process can be made more cost efficient, including recommendations relating to innovative methods of providing instruction such as online distance learning, and the use of interactive software to address the specific challenges of remedial students and advanced readers. Identify costs and benefits of using technology to provide current and innovative instructional materials, including staffing and hardware requirements.

6. Study the TEA's implementation of the state's new accountability system and make recommendations to resolve any problems found. Examine the impact of the federal No Child Left Behind law on the state's accountability system and make recommendations for changes to state law to meet the federal legislation. Examine the ability of the current PEIMS database to meet future information needs and recommend changes, if necessary. Review and make recommendations on innovative alternatives for tracking student performance.

7. Study successful partnerships between school districts and the business community and make recommendations for maximizing the use of effective partnerships, improving the delivery of education services, and enhancing educational opportunities for Texas students, especially at-risk students.

Reports

The Committee shall submit copies of its final report no later than December 1, 2004. The printing of reports should be coordinated through the Secretary of the Senate. Copies of the final report should be sent to the Lieutenant Governor (5 copies), Secretary of the Senate, Senate Research, Legislative Budget Board, Legislative Council, and Legislative Reference Library.

The final report should include recommended statutory or agency rulemaking changes, if applicable. Such recommendations must be approved by a majority of the voting members of the Committee. Recommendations should also include state and local fiscal cost estimates, where feasible. The Legislative Budget Board is available to assist in this regard.

The following reports are available for download:

UPDATE: The final report for the Joint Select Committee on Public School Finance is available from that committees page at http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/Senate/commit/c880/c880.htm

Budget and Staff

Travel costs shall be paid from the operating budgets of Senate members. All other costs shall be borne by the Senate Education Committee's interim budget, as approved by the Senate Administration Committee. Due to overall budget constraints, it is recommended each interim committee budget include only critical expenditures and, where possible, reductions from previous spending levels.

The Committee should also seek the assistance of legislative and executive branch agencies where appropriate.

Interim Appointments

Pursuant to Section 301.041, Government Code, it may be necessary to change the membership of a committee if a member is not returning to the Legislature in 2005. This will ensure that the work of interim committees is carried forward into the 79th Legislative Session.

Committee Links

Joint Select Committee on Public School Finance.
78th Legislature's Senate Subcommittee on Higher Education.
77th Legislature's Senate Education Committee.
76th Legislature's Senate Education Committee.
76th Legislature's Senate Subcommittee on Higher Education.

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