The Texas Association for the Gifted & Talented (TAGT) connects and empowers educators and parents to meet the unique needs of gifted and talented learners through awareness, advocacy and action. With fewer than 40 days left in the 83rd Session of the Texas Legislature, TAGT is providing this update to highlight activity affecting education in general and gifted services, specifically.
What’s happening in Austin?
- The House has passed House Bill 5 (HB 5), a major proposal that seeks to reduce high stakes testing and relax the 4×4 graduation requirements; it was sent to the Senate for their review.
- BIG NEWS! One provision in HB 5 requires school districts to evaluate ”educational programs for gifted and talented students” as part of the section that looks at performance ratings for school districts. Gifted education would become an area that must be evaluated on each district campus when making these reports.
- The Senate Education Committee held its hearing on HB 5, with a Senate-drafted substitute offered. It has much of the original content, but does incorporate parts of Senate Bill 3 and Senate Bill 1724, two education bills already passed by the Committee. The Senate version of HB 5 was passed out of committee and will be voted on by the entire Senate soon. The provision regarding evaluation of gifted and talented programs remained in the Senate version of the bill.
- Both the House and Senate have agreed to separate budgets that could put a minimum of $3.5 billion back into public education, partially restoring last session’s budget reductions.
- Lawmakers are considering many other education reforms, including legislation to remove the cap on the number of charter schools and to allow students to receive a voucher to attend private school. The former is more likely to pass than the latter, at this juncture.