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School Reform Bill

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

The Texas Senate has approved legislation that includes several education reform measures.

The proposal approved yesterday next goes to the House, which can accept it or send it to a conference committee. Here's a look at some of the highlights:
-- Changes the school start date to the fourth Monday of August,
with no exceptions. Currently schools start the week of Aug. 21 but
can get a waiver to begin earlier.
-- Gives teachers, school nurses, counselors and librarians a
$2,000 pay raise, which includes $500 to restore a full $1,000
health care stipend that lawmakers previously cut in half.
-- Establishes a teacher excellence program giving school
districts grants to provide bonuses to teachers for improving
student performance.
-- Establishes a new high school allotment, giving districts an
extra $275 for every high school student. The proposal does not
specify how the money should be spent, but is intended to prepare
students for college and reduce the dropout rate.
-- Prohibits the State Board of Education from continuing the
textbook adoption process but allows it to move forward with
ordering new elementary math textbooks. Lawmakers intend to
overhaul that process during the next regular session in 2007 to
include money for technology.
-- Requires the Texas Education Agency to make school district
and campus financial and academic performance data available
online.
-- Establishes a statewide electronic student records system to
be implemented by the beginning of the 2007-08 school year.
-- Requires the commissioner of education and the Texas Higher
Education Coordinating Board (THECB) to align high school and
college curriculums.
-- Makes students take four years of math and science for
graduation.


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