Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN, Texas – Senator Brandon Creighton (R- Conroe) has filed several pieces of his priority legislation for Texas Higher Education and Workforce Development.
“Texas Higher Education is directly tied to the short-term and long-term success of the Texas economy, and as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Higher Education, I am prepared to shepherd an ambitious agenda this session.
"Throughout the last year, Texas higher education institutions showed flexibility and ingenuity in uncertain times. And I believe that the biggest challenges often spur significant, systematic changes to meet the moment, and the demands of a 21st century economy. I am ready to work with the members of the committee as we pursue an ambitious agenda to modernize outdated practices, and expand opportunity and affordability for all Texans."
Review of the Top 10% Rule: SB 1091 alters the outdated Top 10% automatic admissions practice at Texas Universities and caps automatic admissions to 30% of the institution's incoming class. Since its inception, nearly 25 years ago, the top 10% rule has overwhelmed college admissions, and taken away a holistic approach to admissions. This bill will give Texas colleges and universities more flexibility in admissions, and provides a necessary tool to identify the brightest and most diverse students to compete in a 21st century economy.
Textbook Cost Transparency: SB 1092 provides disclosure for automatic charges for textbooks or other learning material at Texas colleges and universities. In several other states, students have been be automatically charged for textbooks, software or other materials for certain classes, resulting in exorbitant fees. This bill ensures that Texas students are provided full disclosure of any required materials for courses they are enrolled in to ensure transparency and affordability.
Education Savings: SB 1094 allows Texas students and families to use 529 education savings accounts toward apprenticeship programs should they find it is their best career track. Not all students need, or should attend traditional 4 year institutions, and this legislation opens up options for apprenticeship or certificate programs for in-demand careers.
Notice of Internships/Apprenticeships: SB 1095 requires that parents and students are notified of internships, apprenticeships, and work based educational opportunities, allowing Texas students to take advantage of cost effective options to accrue credits while still in high school. The bill also requires disclosure of any assistance for students to pay for advanced placement exams, reducing the cost burden on students taking advantage of AP courses.
Bilingual Special Education Degree Program: SB 1101 establishes a degree program for teachers to work with special needs children who are also English learners. Due to the lack of Bilingual Special Education certification in Texas, very few individuals are fully equipped to understand how to properly address disabilities and provide proper interventions. This program will develop teaching methods for intellectually and developmentally challenged students in a bilingual educational setting.
Texas Reskilling and Upskilling through Education (TRUE) Initiative: SB 1102 provides Texas Community Colleges and Technical Institutes the tools they need to prepare students for in-demand careers, reskill and upskill workers who are re-entering the workforce, and streamlines the pipeline from classroom to employment. In partnership with business partners, the proposal aims to develop new accelerated employment training programs and short term credentials that lead to living-wage occupations. The TRUE initiative will strengthen the relationships between community colleges and business partners in their communities, ensuring a well-prepared workforce for a 21st century economy.
Tenure Review Modernization: SB 1159 increases the frequency of performance evaluations for tenured professors at Texas public universities from 6 to 4 years, focusing on teaching, research and peer review. The bill also establishes commonly accepted academic due process procedures and expands cause for disciplinary action, including sexual harassment and plagiarism.