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Capitol UpdateApril 12, 2013Senate Passes Balanced Charter School Quality LegislationOn April 2, the Texas Senate passed S...
SB 23 was heard in committee on Tuesday, April 9, and Raise Your Hand Texas andmany others testified against the bill. For...
Approximately 100 community and business leaders, parents, students and schoolofficials attended an Advocacy & Engagement ...
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Capitol Update 4/12: An Insider’s Guide To Key Legislative Issues In Texas Public Education Policy

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On April 2, the Texas Senate passed SB 2, major charter school quality legislation by a vote of 30-1. The bill was passed with an author’s amendment by Chairman Patrick, and two floor amendments by Senator Royce West to further strengthen the bill.

As passed, the bill offers measured growth of the charter school cap while including important provisions to strengthen oversight of charters, including strengthened renewal and revocation procedures and a provision limiting opening of additional campuses by charter school operators to our highest-performing charters.

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Capitol Update 4/12: An Insider’s Guide To Key Legislative Issues In Texas Public Education Policy

  1. 1. Capitol UpdateApril 12, 2013Senate Passes Balanced Charter School Quality LegislationOn April 2, the Texas Senate passed SB 2, major charter school quality legislation bya vote of 30-1. The bill was passed with an author’s amendment by Chairman Patrick,and two floor amendments by Senator Royce West to further strengthen the bill.As passed, the bill offers measured growth of the charter school cap while includingimportant provisions to strengthen oversight of charters, including strengthened renewaland revocation procedures and a provision limiting opening of additional campuses bycharter school operators to our highest-performing charters.Raise Your Hand Texas CEO Dr. David Anthony offered the following statement onpassage of SB 2:“The passage today of SB 2 by the Texas Senate represents an important victoryfor quality, accountability and measured expansion of charter schools in Texas. SB2 strikes an appropriate balance in encouraging the growth of high quality charterschools while ensuring that the Commissioner of Education has the necessarytools to provide effective quality control and oversight. Raise Your Hand Texascongratulates Senator Patrick for his leadership in balancing these interests, andin passing a strong bill for the benefit of Texas students.”SB 2 now proceeds to the Texas House for further consideration.Voucher Bills Approved by Senate Education CommitteeAt its April 11th, meeting, the Senate Education Committee reported out two pieces ofvoucher legislation, Chairman Patrick’s tax credit voucher proposal (SB 23) and Sen.Williams’ voucher for students with special needs (SB 115).
  2. 2. SB 23 was heard in committee on Tuesday, April 9, and Raise Your Hand Texas andmany others testified against the bill. Former Lt. Gov. Bill Ratliff, representing RaiseYour Hand Texas, spoke eloquently about the importance of public school choice, butthe detrimental effects of vouchers when he said, “I’ll take a back seat to no one onproviding choice to the students of this state,” since he was the author of the originalcharter school legislation. “However, that choice was in the public arena.”Although the bills were passed by the committee, members with dissenting views werenot present, and greater opposition is expected if the bills are debated on the Senatefloor.Raise Your Hand Texas also testified against another tax credit voucher bill, HB 3245 byRepresentative Callegari (R-Katy) in the House Ways & Means Committee on Tuesday,April 9. The bill was left pending.While the prospects for passage of these bills are not high, we urge Raise Your HandTexas members to keep up the pressure on vouchers. The fight is still on, and we can’ttake anything for granted at this point!Need some extra encouragement? Check out our radio ads here that are airing onstations around the state:Spot 1Spot 2Senate Education Committee to Hear HB 5 TuesdayThe Senate Education Committee will hear HB 5 by Aycock on Tuesday, April 16, inaddition to a few remaining Senate bills on the agenda. HB 5 is the omnibus educationlegislation authored by House Public Education Committee Chairman that makesimportant changes to standardized testing, graduation plans and the accountabilitysystem. HB 5 is a critical piece of legislation that passed with overwhelming support inthe House of Representatives, but opponents of the bill are mounting a significant effortto increase the number of tests and to retreat to the status quo or something close to iton graduation requirements.We encourage everyone who supports meaningful testing and more flexibility forstudents to contact the members of the Senate Education Committee to urge supportfor HB 5.House Public Education Committee to Hear More House Bills TuesdayAnother lengthy agenda of House bills will be heard Tuesday, April 16, in the HousePublic Education Committee.Raise Your Hand Texas Statewide Outreach Events Continue2
  3. 3. Approximately 100 community and business leaders, parents, students and schoolofficials attended an Advocacy & Engagement dinner in Victoria on Monday, April 8. Theevent was the latest in a series of statewide outreach events sponsored by Raise YourHand Texas, intended to spread the word about public education issues and the criticalneed for the citizens of Texas to understand the issues and get involved. See belowfor coverage of the event and powerful comments by Raise Your Hand Texas CEO Dr.David Anthony. The next RYHT grassroots events will take place in Amarillo on April 16and Waco on April 19.See video from the event here: http://www.victoriaadvocate.com/videos/2013/apr/08/9138/Stay Informed!One of the keys to being an effective advocate for public education is staying informed.We hope you find our Capitol Update to be helpful. If so, forward it to a friend!For additional timely updates from Raise Your Hand Texas, “Like” us on Facebook andfollow us on Twitter.2

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