I mentioned earlier that the charter school bill—SB2—is in the hands of a conference committee. Reports from Austin say that both SB2 and HB5, a bill to modify standardized testing requirements, are both being negotiated among members of the House, Senate, and Governor Rick Perry’s office. “A Possible Deal on Testing, Charter School Bills”, Morgan Smith, Texas Tribune, May 23, 2013; “Charter school, testing bills will pass or die together”, Kate Alexander, Austin American-Statesman, May 22, 2013; “Lawmakers near agreement on education testing, graduation and curriculum changes”, Maria Luisa Cesar, San Antonio Express-News, May 24, 2013 (also at Expressnews.com); “Revised House bill for education changes is revealed”, Maria Luisa Cesar, San Antonio Express-News, May 26, 2013 (also at Expressnews.com); “Senate & House Education Leaders Say They Have Charter School And Testing Deal”, Ryan Popee, Texas Public Radio, May 24, 2013.
Morgan Smith of the Texas Tribune spoke to Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock (R-Killeen), chair of the House Committee on Public Education and a conference committee member: “He said that the charter school legislation, SB 2, would be closer to the version that passed the upper chamber, while the testing legislation, HB 5, would be closer to the version that passed the lower chamber.” “Liveblog: What’s Left for the 83rd Legislature”, Texas Tribune, May 24, 2013.
Smith also noted that the status of SB1718, the Achievement School District bill, was “unclear”—would it be added as an amendment to SB2 or HB5? (SB1718 itself failed on a point of order, and an amendment to HB2836 was stripped, as discussed in this earlier post.) See also “Texas House unfortunately knocked down Royce West’s achievement district bill”, Bill McKenzie, Education blog (Dallas Morning News), May 23, 2013, and re-posted at Texans for Education Reform.
I have not been closely following HB5, the bill to reform standardized testing, but my friends at Bankers Anonymous and Texas Parents Union shared this inspiring article with me, and I highly recommend it: “Moms’ group shakes up status quo on Texas’ testing regimen”, Kate Alexander, Austin American-Statesman, April 27, 2013. Working together, parents can make a difference.