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September 7, 2004     (512) 463-0300

Senate Committee Meets on Education Issues

AUSTIN - The Senate Committee on Education met today, Tuesday, September 7, 2004, to further address interim charges.

The committee began with interim charge #5 which deals with the selection, funding, and distribution of textbooks. The committee heard testimony from Dr. Robert Leos, Senior Director of Textbook Administration, Texas Education Agency (TEA). Following was a panel that would give the State Board of Education perspective on charge #5. Testifying were: The Honorable Geraldine "Tincy" Miller, Chairman, State Board of Education; The Honorable Cynthia Thornton, Vice-Chairman, State Board of Education; and The Honorable Linda Bauer, Member, State Board of Education.

Interim charge #7 is to 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. The Committee heard from a panel on Business-Education Partnerships that included: John Stevens, Executive Director, Texas Business and Education Coalition; Joy James, Ex-Officio, Texas Association of Partners in Education; Robert Rivera, Executive Director & Chief Operating Officer, Project GRAD; and Linda Silva, Executive Director, Georgetown Partners in Education who said "in this day in age of narcissism the defining factor of small town education is the degree of volunteerism between businesses and schools."

Next, the committee addressed Interim Charges #1 and #6. Charge #1 is to study public school dropout and completion rates and make suggestions for improvement. Charge #6 is to focus on the impact of the federal No Child Left Behind law on the state's accountability system. The committee heard testimony on Dropout Reporting and Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) from Dr. Chriss Cloudt, Associate Commissioner for Accountability and Data Quality, TEA and Karen Dvorak, Director Division of Accountability Research, TEA. Also on these charges, the committee faced two panels on Electronic Aids for Instruction and Assessment. Panel 1 included: Terry Eason, Coordinator of Instructional Support Services, Duncanville ISD; Dr. Katherine Connely, Executive Director for Special Programs, Corpus Christi ISD; Cathy Galloway, Executive Director of Student Services, Plano ISD; and Mary Hewett, Executive Director of Instructional Technology, Plano ISD. Panel 2 included: Dr. Pedro Reyes, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University of Texas System; Lisa Chandler, Director of Student Assessment, TEA; Douglas Kubach, President and CEO, Pearson Educational Measurement; and Dr. Jon Twing, Vice President, Test and Measurement Services, Pearson Educational Measurement.

Interim Charge #2 is to study the performance of high school students on TAKS, the new state assessment instrument. The committee is looking for 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. Lisa Chandler, Director of Student Assessment, TEA gave an Assessment Overview. Following her was a panel on the Correlation of State Assessments to National Tests featuring: Dr. Chrys Dougherty, Director of Research, National Center for Educational Accountability; Lisa Chandler, Director of Student Assessment, TEA; Douglas Kubach, President and CEO, Pearson Educational Measurement; and Dr. Jon Twing, Vice President, Test and Measurement Services, Pearson Educational Measurement.

Public Testimony followed. The Senate Committee on Education is chaired by Senator Florence Shapiro. Members include: Senator Royce West (vice-chair), Sen. Kip Averitt, Sen. Kyle Janek, Sen. Steve Ogden, Sen. Todd Staples, Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, Sen. Tommy Williams, and Sen. Judith Zaffirini. The committee stands in recess until Wednesday, September 9, 2004, at 9:00 AM.

An archive copy of the meeting may be seen at the audio and video archive pages.

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