A statewide pro-business group based in Austin is urging Gov. Rick Perry to veto House Bill 5, a bill that changes the state’s testing structure for public schools.
Bill Hammond, the executive director for the Texas Business Association, said the House bill that reduces the number of high-stakes exams for school kids will provide the Texas workforce with a poor product.
"60 or 70 percent of the jobs that are being created today require some post-secondary education of some sort, perhaps even a certificate from a community college or an associate’s degree," Hammond said.
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.
An annual report from Children At Risk, a Houston-based nonprofit and advocacy group, focused on public schools in Texas and found that while other major cities were seeing improvements in a variety of metrics, several of San Antonio's school districts were not measuring up.
Lawmakers managed to postpone a high-stakes testing bill on the first Friday the Senate has worked this session.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said it was an agreement in principle that the Senate would take up and pass a House bill being carried by Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, which reduces the number of end-of-course exams from 15 to five.
"But apparently a number of members - principally Democrat, but some Republicans - had not been in the meeting and felt like they had not been briefed enough. And I understand that, I understand that," Patrick said.
Texas Matters: With the investigation into the West fertilizer plant explosion ongoing, the House Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee held a hearing to clarify who is responsible for reviewing these kinds of facilities. Also on this show: The chances that Ted Cruz makes a presidential run and the future of high-stakes testing in Texas.
Following the passage of House Bill 5 out of the Senate Committee on Education, Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, the chairman of the committee, chided the businesses and media outlets who have alleged that lowering the number of state-mandated end-of-course exams would dumb-down public school curriculum.
Patrick said nothing could be further from the truth.