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Bill Dismantling Education Standards Heads To House; Ends Class Size, Curriculum, Teacher Standards At Schools

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 2, 2003

Austin, TX Student learning would suffer under proposed rollbacks of education standards, said the Texas Freedom Network. Legislation passed by a House committee last night would exempt some school districts from virtually all state education standards.

“This new push would eliminate education standards for class size, curriculum and teachers that have proven to improve student performance,” said Samantha Smoot, Executive Director of the Texas Freedom Network, which monitors public education issues in Texas. “Putting kids and education first means improving schools, not abandoning our commitment to proven education standards in order to save money.”

House Bill 973 by Rep. Kent Grusendorf (R-Arlington) would make “exemplary” rated school districts and campuses subject only to a fraction of the laws governing open-enrollment charter schools. H.B. 973 would exempt these districts from state standards for class size, curriculum, teacher certification and training, minimum teacher qualifications, parental rights, dropout prevention programs, after-school programs, remedial and accelerated instruction, educator rights and benefits, school day length, school year length, assessment of students with disabilities, and some anti-discrimination provisions.

The bill was hurriedly passed out of the House Public Education Committee last night, despite the fact that there had been no public hearing on the proposed legislation.

“This bill would demolish the very standards that have helped children learn and achieve more,” said Smoot. “Cutting qualified teachers and crowding classrooms is a lesson plan for failure.”

In the 2001-2 school year, less than 40% of students at less-regulated charter schools passed all three sections of the TAAS test, compared to 80% of public school students.

 

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