Texas Legislature
2:30 pm
Fri May 24, 2013

Senate & House Education Leaders Say They Have Charter School And Testing Deal

The last few days for Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, and his House companion, Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, have been rough, especially when it comes to sealing the votes needed for a bill that increases the number of charter schools in the state and another reducing the number of course exams.

"Actually, the hang up seems to be resolved yesterday evening," Aycock said. "Senator Patrick and I have agreed to submit drafting points and it's being drafted presently - both bills - and we’ve come to an agreement between the two of us on both bills and we are certain we have enough conferees that will sign the conference committee reports."

Aycock said the group is planning to use the senate version of the bill, which would give the Texas Education Agency final authority and providing state schools with 305 charter schools by 2016.

He said changes to the end-of-course testing bill provides more flexibility than the original legislation by providing five different career paths for high school students.

"In the House version there are multiple endorsements ranging from STEM, to business and industry, humanities, career paths like fireman and teachers, and then there is the multi-disciplinary, so we have five in the language that is drafted. Hopefully these kids will find something they are interested in and have the flexibility to go into those," Aycock said.

The bill also reduces the number of tests from 15 end-of-course exams to five tests with a curriculum component of four years of math and four years of science. 

A House vote is scheduled for tomorrow.