The 84th legislative session ended on June 1, 2015. See the bills that have become law.

Improving educator quality

Curated by Morgan Smith

At the federal government’s request, Texas is moving toward a teacher evaluation system based partly on student achievement on standardized tests. It’s a controversial policy that attracted attention at the Capitol, though there was also agreement in the education community that the state needed to update its almost 20-year-old approach to assessing teachers. Included in the conversation was the state’s shortage of certified teachers in areas like math, science, and bilingual education.

However, all the major efforts this session to overhaul teacher evaluation and compensation failed.

But the focus at the Capitol wasn't just on teachers. A week before the 2015 session, Speaker Joe Straus announced the House intended to strengthen reforms overhauling high school curriculum lawmakers passed last session by providing extra training for the guidance counselors who help students navigate the state’s new diploma requirements.

Lawmakers approved House Bill 18, which creates counseling academies at the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Texas at Austin to help school advisors guide students on higher education and career opportunities, as well as the various pathways to a high school diploma. It also requires school districts to provide information to middle school students on graduation plans and requirements and potential career choices. 

Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here. 

Updated: June 1, 2015

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The Texas Legislative Guide was designed and developed by Becca Aaronson, Emily Albracht, Daniel Craigmile, Annie Daniel, Ben Hasson and Ryan Murphy for The Texas Tribune. The Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that promotes civic engagement and discourse on public policy, politics, government and other matters of statewide concern.