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Groups Decry “Home-Rule” Bill That Eliminates Class Size, Curriculum, All Education Standards FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 28, 2003
Austin, TX Student learning would suffer under proposed rollbacks of education standards, said a coalition of fifteen public interest groups on Monday.
“While public school finance and the $1.4 billion education cuts are grabbing headlines, the biggest threat to public schools is making a stealth advance through the legislature,” said Samantha Smoot, Executive Director of the Texas Freedom Network, which monitors public education issues. “House Bill 859 would eliminate virtually all state education standards and wipe out decades of academic progress in one fell swoop.”
Scheduled for a vote in the Texas House on Monday, House Bill 859 would allow any Texas school district to convert itself to “home-rule” and thus be exempt from virtually all state education standards, including class size, curriculum, teacher certification and training, minimum teacher qualifications, parental rights, dropout prevention, after-school programs, remedial and accelerated instruction, educator rights and benefits, school day length, school year length, assessment of students with disabilities, and even some anti-discrimination and religious freedom provisions.
“We’re here to take a stand against House Bill 859, one of the most wide-reaching and potentially devastating education… Read More
Texas House Votes Down Dangerous “Virtual” Schools Bill; Senate Approves Similar Measure FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 23, 2003
Austin, TX Public education narrowly avoided a major blow today when the Texas House voted not to create a “virtual” charter schools program, said the Texas Freedom Network.
“Last week, the House slashed $1.4 billion in state education funding, and yet some politicians have continued to push initiatives that would siphon billions more out of public schools,” said Samantha Smoot, Executive Director of the Texas Freedom Network.
“Last week, state leaders said we needed to tighten state purse strings and the House slashed state education spending by $1.4 billion,” said Smoot. “Why these same leaders are now pushing expensive new education programs is beyond me.”
“This ‘virtual’ schools program is a boondoggle the state is right to avoid,” said Smoot.… Read More
Torrent Of Bad Education Bills Rips Through Legislature; Leadership Puts Ideology Ahead Of Students, Fiscal Crisis April 22, 2003
Austin, TX Ideological agendas have displaced sound public policy and the best interest of Texas students at the Texas Capitol, as the legislature considers a litany of anti-public education bills this week, said the Texas Freedom Network.
“Last week, the House slashed $1.4 billion in state education funding, and now politicians are pushing initiatives that would siphon billions more out of public schools,” said Samantha Smoot, Executive Director of the Texas Freedom Network. “Count them: a billion dollar voucher program, free textbooks for private school students, and a ‘virtual’ schools program where the state would buy a home computer and printer for untold numbers of homeschooled and private school students.”
“Not only are these bills bad for our neighborhood public schools, they simply defy reason,” said Smoot. “Instead of responsibly addressing our budget deficit and school funding needs, the politicians in charge are putting their pet ideological projects ahead of Texas students.”… Read More
Voucher Bill Sneaks Through Committee At Closed Meeting On House Floor FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 3, 2003
Austin, TX Chairman Kent Grusendorf called an impromtu meeting of the House Public Education Committee at his desk on the House floor this morning and hurriedly passed out his controversial voucher bill, H.B. 2465.
For the next two years, H.B. 2465 would create a private school voucher program in Texas school districts with more than 40,000 students, in which a majority of the students are eligible for the federal free and reduced price lunch program.
Starting in 2005, the voucher “pilot” program would be open to any school district and any child, thus making the more than 4 million public and charter school school students in Texas 1,040 school districts eligible for a voucher.
“It’s no surprise that this bill was snuck through at a closed meeting on the floor, given the unpopularity of vouchers and the drastic nature of this bill,” said Samantha Smoot, Executive Director of the Texas Freedom Network, which advocates against vouchers.… Read More
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.… Read More