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Alternative Education - S.B. 133

by Senators Bivins and Nelson

House Sponsor: Representative Dutton

§ Exempts a child compulsory school attendance requirements if legally expelled in a school district (district) that does not participate in a mandatory juvenile justice alternative education program (JJAEP).

§ Requires the board of trustees of a district (board), with appropriate advice, to adopt a student code of conduct for the district. Requires the code of conduct to be posted and prominently displayed at each school campus.

§ Establishes guidelines for placement of a student in an alternative education program (AEP).

§ Requires placement for certain criminal offenses committed on or within 300 feet of school property, or while attending a school-related activity.

§ Requires placement for felony offenses against another person if the student receives deferred prosecution, is found to have engaged in, or is reasonably believed to have engaged in the offense, and it is committed off campus and not at a school-related activity.

§ Authorizes placement for other felony offenses if there is reasonable belief that the student engaged in the offense and the student's presence in the regular classroom is a threat to safety or will be detrimental to the education process.

§ Requires placement of a student younger than 10 years of age who is engaged in any of the aforementioned conduct.

§ Sets forth requirements for review and appeal of a student's placement in an AEP.

§ Entitles a district providing educational services to count pre-adjudicated and post-adjudicated students who are confined in a county juvenile residential facility in the district's average daily attendance for state funding purposes.

§ Authorizes a student to be expelled for conduct involving illegal drugs, alcohol, glue, or aerosol paint while on school property or at a school-related activity.

§ Requires a student to be expelled for at least one year for bringing a firearm to school, with certain exceptions.

§ Prohibits a student who is younger than 10 years of age from being expelled for engaging in certain conduct, unless otherwise specified.

§ Provides that a district is not required to provide AEP courses other than those specified by law.

§ Requires the commissioner of education to adopt rules necessary to administer the public school accountability system for AEPs.

§ Requires the scheduling of a conference, with certain parties, for a student removed from class. Entitles the student to receive an explanation for the removal at the conference, and provides an opportunity to respond.

§ Requires a student placed in AEP to be provided a review of the student's status, including a review of the student's academic status. Also requires the establishment of a specific graduation plan for a high school student.

§ Entitles the student to be represented at an expulsion hearing. Authorizes the district to hold the hearing regardless of whether the student or the student's representative is present, if the district has made a good-faith effort to contact them.

§ Requires an expelled student, in a county that operates a JJAEP, to immediately attend the educational program from the date of expulsion.

§ Prohibits a district from refusing to admit a student after the student successfully completes any court disposition requirements. Authorizes the district to place a student in an AEP.

§ Authorizes the district to which an expelled student transfers to continue the expulsion; place the student in an AEP for the period specified; or allow the student to attend regular classes.

§ Requires the juvenile court to place a student in a JJAEP if a student is expelled for certain offenses. Requires consideration of the district's expulsion order in determining placement.

§ Requires each district to approve JJAEP course credits earned by a student the same as school credits.

§ Requires the regular review of the student's academic progress in a JJAEP. Provides that a district is not required to provide JJAEP courses other than those specified by law.

§ Requires the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission (TJPC), with commissioner approval, to develop and implement a system for ensuring students attending a JJAEP make progress toward grade level.

§ Requires TJPC to adopt rules for the distribution of funds appropriated to juvenile boards. Provides that certain students served by a JJAEP on the basis of an expulsion are not eligible for state funding.

§ Requires certain districts and county juvenile boards to annually enter into a joint memorandum of understanding (MOU) which outlines the duties and services of a JJAEP.

§ Requires the district to provide educational programs to expelled students not eligible for admission into a JJAEP. Authorizes the district to contract with another entity to provide programs.

§ Authorizes a binding arbitration process if the district and county juvenile board cannot agree on an MOU.

§ Provides immunity from liability, when operating a JJAEP, for a juvenile board and a county commissioners court and their employees and volunteers to the same extent as a district.

§ Requires a JJAEP certified educator to be eligible for the Teacher Retirement System of Texas to the same extent as a district employee.

§ Requires each district to annually report to the commissioner relating to students placed in AEPs and students who were expelled.

§ Requires a law enforcement agency to notify the district, within 24 hours, of the arrest or referral to juvenile court of any student committing a felony offense. Requires the district to notify all personnel who supervise the student.

§ Requires notification to the district removing the student to an AEP if the student's case was refused or dismissed, the student is found not guilty, or certain determinations are made.

§ Prohibits a student from being expelled in a county where a JJAEP is operated without written notification by the district.

§ Requires the release of an expelled child in certain counties to be contingent on attending a JJAEP, pending certain actions.

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JJAEP Employees - S.B. 135

by Senator Bivins

House Sponsor: Representative Gray

§ Provides that a juvenile board and a commissioners court of a county, in relation to the development and operation of a juvenile justice alternative education program, are immune from liability to the same extent as a school district.

§ Provides that the juvenile board's or county's professional employees and volunteers are immune from liability to the same extent as a school district's professional employees and volunteers.

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Performance Incentives - S.B. 168

by Senator Haywood

House Sponsor: Representative Greenberg

§ Requires a performance incentive awarded to a principal to be distributed to the principal's campus in the manner determined by the campus-level planning and decision-making committee in accordance with the statutory provisions relating to use of monetary awards.

§ Requires the commissioner of education to develop a study on establishing an incentive grant program for all classes of educators to be reported to the legislature by December 1, 1998.

§ Requires the study to focus on developing objective methods for the issuance of grants in the areas of student performance, continuing education, and professional duties performed by teachers in addition to classroom duties.

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Teacher Minimum Salary Schedule - S.B. 280

by Senator Zaffirini

House Sponsor: Representative Tillery

§ Requires the commissioner of education to adopt rules for determining the experience for which a teacher or librarian is to be given credit in placing the teacher or librarian on the state minimum salary schedule.

§ Requires a school district to credit the teacher or librarian for each year of experience without regard to whether the years are consecutive.

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Computer Network Study Project - S.B. 294

by Senators Sibley and Shapleigh

House Sponsor: Representative Maxey

§ Requires the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to develop a study project to determine the costs and benefits of using computer networks, including the Internet, in public schools. Requires the commissioner of education (commissioner) to determine the issues to be studied in the project, including the possibility of delivering, through a computer network, updated supplements to textbooks.

§ Requires an advisory committee to be appointed to assist TEA in the study project.

§ Requires the commissioner to appoint the advisory committee agency personnel, textbook publishers, educators, students, and technology experts.

§ Requires the presiding officers of the senate and the house of representatives to each appoint two members of the legislature to serve on the advisory committee.

§ Sets forth requirements of the study.

§ Requires the commissioner to appoint a subcommittee to investigate the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of developing electronic textbooks to be used by students who are blind or have other disabilities.

§ Requires TEA to report the results of the study project to the 76th Legislature by February 1, 1999.

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Public School Technology Allotment - S.B. 297

by Senators Ratliff and Bivins

House Sponsor: Representative Junell

§ Requires the State Board of Education to determine the amount of the available school fund to set aside for the state textbook fund to provide an allotment to each public school district equal to at least $30 per student in average daily attendance for any year provided by appropriation to purchase instructional technology and pay for teacher instructional technology training.

§ Provides that this act takes effect immediately and applies beginning with the 1996-97 school year.

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Public School District Residency - S.B. 462

by Senator Luna

House Sponsor: Representative Hernandez

§ Requires the board of trustees of a school district to admit a student with no tuition charge into the district's public schools who is between the ages of five and 21 on the first day of September of the school year in which admission is sought if the person does not reside in the district but one of the parents resides in the district and the parent has joint custody and is a joint managing conservator of the person.
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School Child Care Services Program - S.B. 503

by Senator Ellis, et al.

House Sponsors: Representatives Olivo and Greenberg

§ Reestablishes the school child care services program.

§ Authorizes the Work and Family Policies Clearinghouse to distribute money appropriated by the legislature to any school district to implement child care before and after the school day and during school holidays and vacations for the district's school-aged students.

§ Adds "prekindergarten" to program information the Texas Workforce Commission shall distribute to school districts.

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Regional Education Service Centers - S.B. 1158

by Senator Luna

House Sponsor: Representative Sadler

§ Requires regional education service centers (center) to be located throughout the state so that each school district (district) has the opportunity to be served and to participate on a voluntary basis, in a center that meets the accountability standards established by the commissioner of education (commissioner).

§ Requires the commissioner, rather than the Texas Education Agency, to provide for the establishment and operation of no more than 20 centers. Authorizes the commissioner to decide any matter concerning the operation or administration of the centers.

§ Provides that the provisions relating to centers do not limit a district's freedom to purchase services from any center, or require a district to purchase services from a center.

§ Requires centers to assist districts in improving student performance; enable districts to operate more efficiently and economically; and implement initiatives assigned by the legislature or commissioner.

§ Sets forth administrative provisions relating to the governance, executive director, tax status, immunity from liability, and employee leave policy of a center.

§ Requires centers, subject to approval of the board of directors, to offer programs and activities to districts and campuses for core services, student improvement services, and additional contracted services.

§ Requires each center to annually develop and submit to the commissioner for approval a plan for improvement that must include the purposes and description of the services the center will provide to schools, particularly low-performing campuses.

§ Requires each center to maintain core services for teacher training and assistance, district assistance, administrator training and assistance, and legal compliance assistance.

§ Authorizes a center to purchase or lease property or acquire property through a lease-purchase agreement. Authorizes a center to incur debts for this purpose.

§ Requires the commissioner to establish performance standards and indicators for centers. Sets forth criteria for the performance standards and indicators.

§ Sets forth requirements for the funding of centers through the Foundation School Program.

§ Authorizes the legislature to appropriate money from the foundation school fund to establish an incentive fund to encourage efficiency in the provision of services by the centers.

§ Authorizes the legislature to appropriate money from the foundation school fund or other sources to implement initiatives identified by the legislature.

§ Authorizes the commissioner to adopt rules governing the strategies, programs, projects, and regions eligible for the initiative funding.

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Written Reports - S.B. 1221

by Senator Luna

House Sponsor: Representative Hernandez

§ Requires the board of trustees of each school district, after soliciting recommendations from the local planning and decision-making committees, to annually consider the number and length of written reports that employees of the district are required to prepare.

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Grants by the Commissioner of Education to Certain School Districts - S.B. 1414 (Died in the House)

by Senator Luna

§ Requires the commissioner of education, when determining the compensatory education allotment of a school district to:

§ give consideration to a district's degree of concentration of disadvantaged students in determining the number of students in the district eligible for extended year programs;

§ distribute state funds for extended year programs so that a district's share of the cost of such programs, as determined by the commissioner, is proportional to the district's share of the cost of its Tier One program in the public school finance system; and

§ provide for phasing in the district's share, if its share would cause the district to be eligible for a lesser amount of state funds per weighted student in the 1998-1999 school year than in the 1996-1997 school year, and provided that the district's property value per weighted student is less than one-half of the state average property value per weighted student. This provision expires September 1, 2000.

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Campus and Campus Program Charters - S.B. 1653

by Senator Nelson

House Sponsor: Representative Culberson

§ Requires each school district to adopt a campus charter and campus program charter policy by January 1, 1998. Requires the policy to specify:

§ the process to be followed for approval of a campus charter or campus program charter;

§ the statutory requirements with which a campus charter or campus program charter must comply; and

§ the items that must be included in a charter application.

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School Finance - S.B. 1873

by Senator Bivins

House Sponsor: Representative Hochberg

§ Abolishes the Foundation School Fund Budget Committee.

§ Continues the hold harmless provision through the 1999-2000 school year.

§ Subtracts from a school district's effective tax rate any amounts paid into a tax increment fund.

§ Eliminates from recapture a school district's debt service tax revenue and any amounts paid into a tax increment fund.

§ Clarifies provisions relating to the equalized funding elements and the cost of education index adjustment.

§ Authorizes compensatory education funds to be spent only to improve and enhance services funded under the regular education program. Requires the State Board of Education, with the assistance of the state auditor and the comptroller, to develop and implement a reporting and auditing system for school district and campus expenditures of compensatory education funds to ensure the funds are spent only to supplement the regular education program.

§ Provides that the guaranteed level of state and local funds per weighted student per cent of tax effort is $21, rather than $20.55, or a greater amount as provided by appropriation.

§ Provides that in computing the enrichment and facilities tax rate of a school district, the total amount of taxes collected by a school district does not include taxes paid into a tax increment fund.

§ Prohibits a school district that demonstrates to the attorney general that its ability to pay the principal and interest on proposed bonds for school facilities is contingent on receiving state assistance from adopting a tax rate for a year for paying the principal of and interest on the bonds unless the district credits to the interest and sinking fund account of the bonds the amount of that year's state assistance.

§ Authorizes state funds not designated for a specific purpose to be used for the purposes listed for state and county available funds and other purposes necessary in the conduct of the public schools.

§ Entitles the Texas Academy of Leadership in the Humanities at Lamar University at Beaumont to allotments from the Foundation School Fund for each student in the academy as if the academy were a school district, except that the academy has a local share applied that is equivalent to the local fund assignment of the Beaumont Independent School District.

§ Provides that a homestead exemption of up to 20 percent for the 1997 tax year, adopted by the board of trustees of a school district before July 1, 1997, is valid.

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"Read to Succeed" License Plates and Reading Diagnosis Programs - H.B. 107

by Representative Giddings, et al.

Senate Sponsor: Senator Ratliff

§ Requires the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to issue specially designed "Read to Succeed" license plates for passenger cars and light trucks.

§ Requires TxDOT to set the annual fee for the license plates at $25 for each set ($15 per set for a fleet of at least 50) plus an administrative fee of no more than $5.

§ Requires TxDOT to deposit the annual fee for the license plates, except for the administrative fee, to the credit of the "Read to Succeed" account in the general revenue fund, with the money to be used to implement the reading diagnosis provisions of the Education Code.

§ Requires the commissioner of education (commissioner) to develop recommendations for school districts for administering reading instru-ments to diagnose student reading development and comprehension; training educators in administering the reading instruments; and applying the results of the reading instruments to instructional programs.

§ Requires the commissioner to adopt, by August 1, 1998, a list of reading instruments that a school district (district) may use to diagnose student reading development and comprehension. Authorizes a district-level planning and decision-making committee to adopt a list of reading instruments in addition to the commissioner's list.

§ Requires each district to administer, at the kindergarten and first and second grade levels, a reading instrument on either the commissioner's or the district-level planning and decision-making committee's list.

§ Prohibits the results of the reading instruments from being used for purposes of appraisals and incentives or accountability.

§ Authorizes implementation of the reading diagnosis provisions only if funds are appropriated. Authorizes funds, other than local funds, to be used to pay the cost of administering the reading instrument only if the instrument is on the list adopted by the commissioner.

§ Requires each school district to implement a reading diagnosis program and the related recommendations beginning with the 1998-99 school year.

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Open-Enrollment Charters and the Public Education Grant Program - H.B. 318

by Representative Cuellar, et al.

Senate Sponsor: Senator Bivins

§ Authorizes the State Board of Education to grant up to 100 charters for open-enrollment charter schools that adopt an express policy providing for the admission of students eligible for a public education grant and additional charters for open-enrollment charter schools for which at least 75 percent of the prospective student population will be students who have dropped out of school or are at risk of dropping out of school.

§ Sets forth eligibility provisions regarding a student seeking a public education grant or wishing to attend another public school in the district in which the student resides.

§ Requires a school district, after being notified by the commissioner of education, to notify the parent of each student in the district assigned to attend a low-performing campus that the student is eligible for a public education grant.

§ Sets forth provisions for determining the amount of funding to which each school district is entitled for every student using a public education grant to attend a school in the district.

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Public Education - H.B. 583

by Representative Maxey

Senate Sponsor: Senator Barrientos

§ Requires the TEA to develop, implement, and administer programs and activities to encourage and maintain parental involvement in public schools.

§ Requires the commissioner of education (commissioner) to attempt to consolidate all TEA programs and activities related to parental involvement to ensure greater and easier access by parents and to ensure greater efficiency of TEA operations.

§ Requires the application of a school district for a waiver of a requirement, restriction, or prohibition imposed by the Education Code or a rule of the State Board of Education or commissioner to contain certain information.

§ Prohibits a student who has been adjudicated as having engaged in delinquent conduct that included the offense of indecency with a child, sexual assault, or aggravated sexual assault, or has been convicted of any of those offenses, from being assigned to the same class as the victim of that delinquent conduct or offense without the consent of the victim's parent or of the victim, if the victim is 18 years of age or older, unless the principal determines that such placement is the only alternative.

§ Authorizes the victim's parent or the victim to appeal the principal's decision to the board of trustees (board) of the district. Provides that the decision of the board is final and may not be appealed.

§ Requires a student to be removed from class and placed in an alternative education program (AEP) if the student commits certain criminal offenses on school property or within 300 feet of school property, or while attending a school-sponsored or school-related activity on or off school property.

§ Requires a student to be removed from class and placed in an AEP if the student receives deferred prosecution for a felony offense under Title 5, Penal Code (Offenses Against a Person); if a court or jury finds that the student has engaged in a felony offense under Title 5, Penal Code; or the superintendent or the superintendent's designee has a reasonable belief that the student engaged in a felony offense under Title 5, Penal Code.

§ Authorizes a student to be removed from class and placed in an AEP if the superintendent or the superintendent's designee has a reasonable belief that the student engaged in a felony offense other than an offense defined under Title 5, Penal Code; and the continued presence of the student in the regular classroom threatens the safety of another student or teacher or will be detrimental to the education process.

§ Sets forth procedures for review and appeal of a student's placement in an AEP.

§ Requires the campus report card issued by TEA to contain certain information, including the toll free phone number of TEA's parental involvement division and the toll free phone number of TEA to call for information concerning student assessment instruments.

§ Authorizes local school funds and state funds not designated for a specific purpose to be used for purposes necessary in the conduct of public schools as determined by the district board.

§ Requires a law enforcement agency that arrests or refers to the official designated by the juvenile court an individual who the agency believes is enrolled in a public school for a felony offense to attempt to ascertain whether the individual is enrolled.

§ Requires the law enforcement agency, if it can or cannot ascertain that the individual is enrolled in a public school, to orally notify the district superintendent or the superintendent's designee of the arrest or referral within 24 hours of the arrest or referral or on the next school day.

§ Requires the superintendent to notify all instructional and support personnel who are responsible for the supervision of the student.

§ Sets forth requirements of both the oral and written notification to be provided to the district superintendent by the law enforcement agency.

§ Requires the district superintendent to notify all instructional and support personnel responsible for the supervision of a student upon receiving notification by the prosecuting attorney of a student's prosecution or adjudication of delinquent conduct.

§ Requires school officials to notify all instructional and support personnel who are responsible for the supervision of a newly transferring student upon receiving notification from a parole or probation officer having jurisdiction over the student of the student's arrest or referral.

§ Requires the office of the prosecuting attorney, or the office or official designated by the juvenile court, to notify the district that removed a student to an AEP, within two working days after the action, if the prosecution of the student's case was refused for lack of prosecutorial merit or insufficient evidence and a formal proceeding, deferred adjudication, or deferred prosecution will not be initiated; or the court or jury found the student not guilty or made a finding that the student did not engage in delinquent conduct or conduct indicating a need for supervision, and the case was dismissed without prejudice.

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Promotion After Completing an Extended Year Program - H.B. 836

by Representatives Gallego and Luna

Senate Sponsor: Senator Bivins

§ Requires a student who attends at least 90 percent of the program days of the extended year program and who satisfies requirements for promotion through academic achievement or demonstrating proficiency of the subject matter or grade level to be promoted to the next grade level at the beginning of the next school year unless a parent of the student presents a written request to the school principal that the student not be promoted to the next grade level.

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Testing of Natural Gas Piping Systems in School District Facilities - H.B. 1611

by Representative Turner

Senate Sponsor: Senator Shapiro

§ Requires each school district to pressure test the natural gas piping system in each facility at least every two years before the beginning of the school year.

§ Requires the pressure test to determine whether the natural gas piping downstream of the school district's meter holds at least normal operating pressure over a specified period. Sets forth requirements of the test.

§ Requires each school district to provide written notice to the district's natural gas supplier specifying the date and result of each pressure test or other inspection.

§ Requires the supplier to terminate service to a school district facility if the supplier receives notification of a gas leakage or if the district fails to perform the test or inspection at the facility.

§ Requires an identified natural gas leakage to be reported to the school district's board of trustees.

§ Requires the Texas Railroad Commission to enforce these provisions.

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Assessment of Students in Special Education Programs - H.B. 1800

by Representative Hochberg

Senate Sponsor: Senator Barrientos

§ Requires all students, except students assessed as special education program students, students with limited English proficiency, or others meeting certain criteria, to be assessed in reading, mathematics, writing, social studies, and science at certain grade levels.

§ Requires TEA to develop or adopt appropriate criterion-referenced assessment instruments to be administered to each student in a special education program who receives instruction in the essential knowledge and skills as identified by the State Board of Education, but for whom the assessment instruments for all other students adopted by TEA for reading, writing, mathematics, social studies, and science, even with allowable modifications, would not provide an appropriate measure of student achievement, as determined by the student's admission, review, and dismissal committee.

§ Requires the assessment instrument for students in a special education program to assess competencies and growth in reading, mathematics, and writing.

§ Requires a student's admission, review, and dismissal committee to determine whether any allowable modification is necessary in administering to the student a special education program student assessment instrument.

§ Requires the special education program student assessment instruments to be administered on the same schedule as the assessment instruments for all students.

§ Requires the admission, review, and dismissal committee of a special education program student to determine whether any allowable modification is necessary in administering to the student a secondary exit-level assessment instrument for mathematics and English language arts or whether the student should be considered exempted.

§ Requires the admission, review, and dismissal committee of a special education program student to determine whether any allowable modification is necessary in administering to the student a secondary grade end-of-course assessment instrument for Algebra I, Biology I, English II, and United States history or whether the student should be exempted.

§ Requires TEA to initially release the question and answer key to each special education program student assessment instrument during the third school year in which the instrument is administered after the last time the instrument is administered for that school year.

§ Requires the admission, review, and dismissal committee of a student being assessed with a special education program assessment instrument to determine the level of performance considered to be satisfactory on the assessment instruments administered to the student in accordance with criteria established by TEA rule.

§ Requires the intensive program for students who did not perform satisfactorily on a special education program student assessment instrument to be designed by each student's admission, review, and dismissal committee to enable the student to attain a standard of annual growth on the basis of the student's individualized education program.

§ Sets forth circumstances under which a student may be exempted from the administration of an assessment instrument for all students, special education program students, mathematics and English language arts at the secondary exit-level, and for the end-of-course assessment Algebra I, Biology I, English II, and United States history at the secondary grade levels.

§ Requires the commissioner of education to develop and adopt a process for review of the exemption process of a school district or shared services arrangement that gives a certain number of exemptions in relation to the average daily attendance.

§ Requires the performance indicators for assessment instruments of the Academic Excellence Indicators to include the results of the special education program student assessment instruments beginning with the 2002-03 school year. Prohibits those results of the special education program student assessment instruments from being aggregated by grade level or subject area.

§ Entitles a parent to access to a copy of each state assessment instrument administered, including the special education program student assessment instrument.