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Government/Politics

Part Of Gov. Abbott’s Blueprint For Education Clears Senate

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Ryan E. Poppe
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One of the Texas governor’s agenda items on public education has cleared the Texas Senate. Senators have approved four bills on Thursday that re-apply a program from the 1990s.

Brenham Republican Lois Kolkhorst said these bills direct the Texas Education Commissioner to set up training academies for teachers to bring children up to grade level in reading and math.

“Problematically, many students are not reading at a satisfactory level. Teacher quality is widely considered the most important school-related variable for improving student performance.

Accordingly, teachers must be afforded the training and retraining to make the difference in our young students’ lives,” Kolkhorst explained.

The idea is one of many campaign promises that Gov. Greg Abbott made an integral part of his legislative agenda.

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Credit Ryan E. Poppe
Brehnam Republican Sen. Lois Kolkhorst

Kolkhorst told her Senate colleagues that the plan would resuscitate then Gov. George W. Bush-era programs, which, she said, had proven effective in raising student achievement on a statewide basis. “And one of the things we heard in testimony, is that when we had these academies in the late 1990s, we trained over 80,000 teachers. And in part of the testimony, [it was] said those 80,000 teachers would go back and share what they learned and it was a very collaborative effort,” Kolkhorst said.

The total cost for all four bills would be more than $65 million.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said he had asked that $100 million be set aside in the state’s budget to fund these teaching academies.  The bills now move to the House.