As some long-awaited rain poured into the rivers and lakes across our region, our students are once again pouring into the hallways and classrooms of schools across the state. With the new school year upon us, I hope you’ll take a moment to thank the teachers, faculty, and administrators who have been working diligently to prepare for our students’ return to school. These men and women play such a critical role in shaping our children’s future, and we owe them a debt of gratitude for their service. So, as our campuses come to life in the coming days and weeks, I want to wish all of our students the very best as they embark on another school year.
With that said, here’s an update from your State Capitol. . .
House Interim Charge: Public Education
In the spirit of “back to school,” the House Committee on Public Education will be the topic of this week’s column. This 11-member committee has jurisdiction over all matters pertaining to the programming, financing, and overall supervision of primary and secondary education in Texas. Furthermore, this committee has purview over a number of agencies, including the State Board of Education and the Texas Education Agency.
The members of the Public Education Committee have been especially busy this interim, as they have been tasked with examining a number of issues relating to Hurricane Harvey before the start of the school year. More specifically, the committee has been asked to determine the scope of financial loss that resulted from Hurricane Harvey and make recommendations on possible state actions to provide assistance to affected school districts.
Unrelated to Harvey, the Committee on Public Education has been hard at work examining how additional state funding might be used to enhance compensation in districts facing a shortage of experienced teachers. I am very pleased that the committee has been tasked with this charge, as we must ensure that the State of Texas is providing the necessary resources to not only attract more teachers, but also retain quality teachers.
The Committee has also been asked to examine alternative options for evaluating student achievement beyond standardized tests. While the Texas House voted last session to eliminate a number of over-burdensome standardized tests, these measures ultimately failed to make it to the Governor’s desk. Moving forward, we must continue to seek solutions that assess students beyond a one-size-fits-all approach, and instead allow teachers to teach subject content and worry less about a single high stakes, be-all, end-all test.
- Trent Ashby is honored to be representing District 57 in the Texas House of Representatives. House District 57 includes Angelina, Houston, Leon, Madison, San Augustine and Trinity Counties. He can be reached at (512) 463-0508, (936)634-2762, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.