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The Impact of the 86th Legislative Session

September 16, 2019

Educate Texas collaborates, educates and informs with great results for Texas students

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When it comes to education policy, there are many stakeholders. Texas legislators, public and private universities, community colleges, educators and students are all invested. Working side by side with our partners during the 86th legislative session, we were able to help several critical bills pass that will benefit Texas students. Leading up to the session, Educate Texas worked to convene stakeholders to develop awareness of evidence-based initiatives that boost student outcomes. We also partnered with organizations to host lunch-and-learn sessions for legislators and staff to educate and inform them about critical issues affecting public and higher education during the legislative session. 

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Several policies we are thrilled to highlight:

We asked our Educate Texas experts to recap new policies from the 86th legislative session and why each matters.

House Bill 3

House Bill 3 implements many of the School Finance Commission’s recommendations, including the increase of school funding with an added weight for districts serving low-income students; the support of full-day pre-K for every eligible child; a bonus for college, career and military readiness; the resources for districts to adopt strategic compensation and teacher incentive programs; an allotment for stronger teacher mentoring; the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as a high school graduation requirement; as well as adjustments to many other critical levers. 

Why it matters:  This bill invests significant  additional resources into public education and fundamentally changes the way that we allocate those dollars to improve student outcomes.

House Bill 18

House Bill 18 is an effective-teaching bill that improves supports for student mental health, including training for teachers in trauma-informed practices. 

Why it matters:  This bill will provide teachers with the resources and training they need to support students in today’s classrooms, many of whom are facing issues both in and out of the classroom.

House Bill 4205

House Bill 4205 allows school districts to adopt an Accelerating Campus Excellence (ACE) model for campuses required to implement a turnaround plan. 

Why it matters: This bill allows for statewide scaling and growth of a local policy that has had demonstrated success in the Dallas area. HB 4205 allows school districts to adopt a campus turnaround plan that has been shown to lead to system-wide improvements.

Senate Bill 25

Senate Bill 25 is a higher education bill that compels  greater transparency of how students’ earned credit hours are transferred between institutions of higher education  to ensure more timely graduation. 

Why it matters: Many students are attending more than one institution on their journey to degree completion. This bill increases transparency around how credits will transfer between institutions and apply to students’ majors. This will help students avoid spending time and money on courses that ultimately do not count toward their degree.

Senate Bill 1324

Senate Bill 1324 requires students to file a degree plan once they have earned 15 hours of dual credit in high school. 

Why it matters:  Over the last 10 years, we have  seen an increase in the number of high school students taking dual credit college courses. This bill is focused on putting guardrails in place to support student degree completion. Requiring students to file a degree plan earlier helps ensure students are taking dual credit courses that  will ultimately count toward their degree. 

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