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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Bonnen Touts Education Reforms to Reduce Testing and Expand Education Pathways

Vol. 9 No. 12

I am pleased to announce to students, parents, teachers, school administrators, and business leaders, that House Bill 5 -- the testing and curriculum reform bill -- and several other pieces of critical education legislation were signed into law by the Governor yesterday [June 10, 2013].  With the invaluable support and input of House District 25, I've spent several years advocating for the changes contained in these bills to reduce burdensome and unnecessary testing, while expanding workforce education in our state.
I have repeatedly gone on record stating that we are testing our students and teachers to death in Texas.  In accordance with my continued legislative efforts on this issue, I was a co-author of HB 5 this past session to bring about this much-needed reform and I am proud to have played a role in its final passage. 

HB 5 is a comprehensive bill that not only reduces the number of mandated end-of-course tests from 15 to five.  It also gives students more flexibility to explore their individual interests as they prepare for higher education and the workforce by providing multiple pathways to success.  To ensure our public schools remain accountable without compromising the education of our students, I worked to ensure that HB 5 broadens the school ratings system while making it more clear and accessible.
I have been a consistent advocate for increased technical training and workforce development for Texas' students -- being one of the first to speak out against inflexible 4x4 curriculum requirements upon their implementation.  In this same regard, I was a strong supporter of SB 441, HB 809, HB 842, and HB 2201 this session, which were also signed into law by the Governor yesterday. These bills provide generous options for Texas' students in workforce training and development education while improving workforce readiness to benefit the local economy. 
This legislative package of education reforms is a tremendous victory for all of us who desire true learning opportunities for our students in the classroom and the ability for educators to teach creatively and effectively.  It also recognizes that students across Texas have unlimited opportunities, whether it be attending a university or community college, or pursuing a vocation or career in the workforce. It signals an understanding that we need intelligent accountability in our schools while maintaining flexibility and rigorous options for our students, ensuring they are prepared for whatever goal they choose to pursue.