This past week, Governor Rick Perry signed into law two bills that will improve access to education data. Both bills, Senate Bill 172 (SB 172) and House Bill 2103 (HB 2103), made it to the Governor’s office after being successfully ushered through the legislature by the Commit! Partnership’s Advocacy Support Council.
SB 172 requires the Commissioner to add a multi-dimensional tool for assessing kindergarten readiness to the list of approved and funded literacy kindergarten assessments. A multi-dimensional assessment can include the assessment of domains in addition to literacy, such as social and emotional behavior, pre-numeracy skills, and language and communication skills, to give teachers a much broader picture of students’ strengths and weaknesses and respond to their needs. SB 172, sponsored by Senator Carona in the Senate and Representative Ratliff in the House, was signed into law by the Governor on June 14.
HB 2103 aims to ensure the state Education Research Centers operate more efficiently and effectively, by streamlining the research approval committee and process, and by codifying in statute the data collection and distribution process so that it is more accessible to researchers while maintaining the security of student data. The ERCs house one of the largest longitudinally-linked educational data collections in the nation with up to 17 years of student level data linked from Pre-K to career. The ERCs house extensive objective detailed data on education in Texas that can be used to make informed policy decisions to improve education in Texas. HB 2103, sponsored by Representatives Branch and Villarreal in the House and by Senator Seliger in the Senate, was signed into law by the Governor on June 14.
The Partnership’s Advocacy Support Council will be reconvening attendees of its inaugural roundtable later this month to recap the legislative session in full and identify next steps at a regional level.