Mike Villarreal

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The last legislative session saw changes to high stakes standardized testing in Texas, but many public school advocates say the reforms didn’t go far enough.

Starting in the Fall of 2014 Texas students will only have to take five standardized tests, which is down from 15. House Bill 5 passed unanimously in both the state house and senate – and was signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry. There was, however, another testing bill that also passed, but this one got different treatment from the governor.

Screen shot from "Mr. Smith goes to Washington."

Segment 1:

When we think about the filibuster we think about Jimmy Stewart collapsing on the floor of the Senate in the movie "Mr. Smith goes to Washington," or Rand Paul and his drone filibuster, and now maybe you think of Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis’s filibuster at the end of June.  

For the Democrats in the U.S. Senate, the party that controls that chamber in Congress, they think of a headache.  

Chris Eudaily / TPR News

Section four of the Voting Rights Act has been eliminated, and Texas can now legally enforce its voter I.D. law according to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.

Section four outlined which states would fall under the discretion of the Department of Justice what would require pre-clearance for implanting new voting laws under section five. Moments after the Supreme Court decision, Abbott issued a statement saying the Texas Voter I.D. law would take effect immediately.

Flickr user biologycorner (Shannan Muskopf) / cc

In the first segment: 

San Antonio state Rep. Mike Villarreal is the author of a bill being considered to reduce the number of standardized tests. Also joining us is Jim Windham, chairman of Texas Institute for Education Reform.

Eileen Pace / TPR News

San Antonio Representative Mike Villarreal has filed a bill to bring transparency to licensing procedures for school teachers.

Right now teachers take a composite exam with several different parts – including all the core subjects – but as long as their overall score is passing, the teachers don’t have to pass all of those subjects to be certified to teach them.

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