“I think educators won this [legislative] session,” reflected state Rep. Ken King, a Republican from Canadian and member of the House Public Education Committee, at the 2019 Texas Tribune Festival. “House Bill 3 aimed specifically at making teaching a profession again, not just a job… [It] was one of the biggest accomplishments of my career as a legislator.”
House Bill 3 was indeed legislation of historic importance. The bill increased the state’s investment in public education by $6.5 billion, in addition to providing $5.1 billion in property tax relief. What’s more, legislators directed these new public education expenditures to strategic initiatives designed to increase student achievement and educator effectiveness.
But boosting the rigor, preparation, and support of Texas educators, as Rep. King indicated was his goal, requires more than the passage of a law. House Bill 3’s ultimate success will largely depend upon the quality of its implementation.
To assist school districts in this next phase of House Bill 3, the Commit Partnership is convening district leaders to learn from one another and share best practices as they prepare to utilize the new resources provided by HB3. Specifically, Commit is leading three professional learning communities (PLCs) that aim to positively impact student outcomes as a result of the legislation.
The Early Learning professional learning community, led by Early Matters Dallas, provides a space for North Texas-based early education administrators to develop strategic plans to increase literacy amongst their youngest students. House Bill 3 required school boards to set five-year goals for 3rd grade reading and math outcomes. This PLC will help ensure those goals are adequately ambitious, while also supported by evidence-based instructional practices.
The College, Career, and Military Readiness (CCMR) professional learning community, led by the Dallas County Promise, counsels DFW-area district leaders on best practices for ensuring students graduate high school ready to succeed in what comes next. Much like 3rd grade literacy and mathematics, HB3 required school boards to set five-year CCMR outcome goals, and much like the Early Learning PLC, this group will guide the development of these goals and the methods used to achieve them.
The Educator Effectiveness professional learning community, led by the Best in Class coalition -- a partnership between the Communities Foundation of Texas and Commit -- is a statewide effort aiming to improve teacher performance and, ultimately, student outcomes by creating best-practice robust evaluation systems for educators. By better identifying and developing techniques for effective instruction, districts also have the potential to qualify for more funding through HB3’s Teacher Incentive Allotment.
To date, more than 35 school districts, collectively educating over 20% of the state, have indicated a desire for support and additional capacity in helping them think through the implementation of HB3 initiatives. EducateTX and the Commit Partnership have begun to collaborate on an organized network of regional and statewide learning communities, involving both statewide assistance and the coordination and financial support of existing regional education backbones across the state. This work will be led by Bridget Devlin, former chief operating officer for the Louisiana Department of Education. Interested districts should reach out at Bridget.Devlin@williamsfdn.org for more information.
In the coming weeks and months, we’ll provide updates on the discoveries made and behaviors changed as a result of this important work. But already, educators and administrators have increased capacity to embark upon this impactful process, thanks to the additional resources and vision HB3 has provided.