Texas Senate Advances Education Reform Legislation


AUSTIN – Today, the Texas Senate advanced three priority education reform bills that will improve school accountability, help our teachers and provide school choice.

The Senate Education Committee voted Senate Bill 4 (SB 4) by Senate Education Chair Larry Taylor, out of committee.

“Senate Bill 4 is a landmark piece of legislation that provides school choice to low-income students and students with a disability,” said Lt. Governor Dan Patrick. “It answers the call for school choice that I have heard from parents across the state. SB 4 enables businesses to contribute a portion of their annual franchise tax to help pay for education scholarships for eligible students to attend the school of their choice.”

The Senate passed Senate Bill 893 (SB 893) by Senator Kel Seliger. This bill helps teachers to continue to improve their skills through regular appraisals and individualized training.

“Today’s approval by the Texas Senate requiring annual public school teacher appraisals is the latest bill in our educational reform package to be passed overwhelmingly,” said Patrick.

“This is an important bill for our teachers and students that links the appraisal process with professional development and compensation. It will ensure that our teachers receive timely appraisals with productive feedback and targeted professional development to serve their individual needs.

“SB 893 also eliminates an antiquated salary system that is based only on the number of years a teacher has in the classroom and instead seeks to ensure teachers are paid according to their professional abilities.

“I applaud Senator Kel Seliger and members of the Senate for making teacher quality a top priority for Texas,” Patrick continued.

The Senate Education Committee also voted Senate Bill 14 (SB 14) by Senate Education Chair Larry Taylor, out of committee.

SB 14 will reduce the amount of time parents will have to wait to petition for either closing or converting a failing school to a charter school from five years to two years.

“Passing all of these education reform bills out of the Texas Senate will be our most significant contribution to our children’s future,” added Patrick.

“These bills will provide much deserved ‘parental choice’ so students are not forced to go to a failing school or trapped in an undesirable educational geographic area because of their zip code. It will create competition between schools, provide greater student flexibility like never before, and increase accountability for our overall education system,” concluded Patrick.