TFC Applauds Texas Senate for Protecting Learning Pods

The Texas Federation for Children (TFC) today applauded the Texas Senate for its unanimous passage of Senate Bill 1955 authored by Senator Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood), which will protect learning pods from burdensome regulation by local governments. As a result of the pandemic, many Texas families established these pods by hiring teachers and tutors to assist with the education of their children. This new and flexible style of educating children is an additional avenue to ensuring children receive the education that best suits them.

“TFC applauds the Texas Senate for recognizing the importance of protecting learning pods from further government regulation,” said TFC State Director Mandy Drogin. “This innovative style of education will be essential to ensuring Texas children are able to recover educationally from school closures because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are grateful to Chairman Larry Taylor for leading this effort and call on the House to quickly pass this critical legislation and get it to Governor Abbott’s desk for his signature.”

SB 1955 is a TFC legislative priority and will now go to the Texas House. TFC’s additional legislative priorities and their progress can be found below:

Special Needs Micro Grants Expansion: SB 1716 Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood)

During the pandemic, many special needs students have been unable to receive the special education services they need in person. Governor Abbott helped these students get back on track by allocating $30 million to provide $1,500 “catch-up” grants to specific special needs students enrolled in the public school system. This bill will make these grants permanent and expand the program to meet the needs of more special needs students enrolled in Texas’s public schools.

Public Charter School Expansion: SB 28 Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston); HB 3279 Harold Dutton (D-Houston) SB 28 passed the Senate on April 15.

Charter schools have been very successful in Texas. As a result, there are more than 160,000 Texas families on waiting lists to get their children into these schools. SB 28 and HB 3279 reduce the regulatory burdens placed on charter school operations and their expansion.

Virtual School Expansion and Improvement: SB 27 Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood)

Prior to the pandemic, only five school districts and two charter schools could offer full-time virtual instruction in Texas. This law must be changed. SB 27 expands virtual school course options to ensure any gaps in course availability at Texas’s 1,247 school districts are filled.

Education Savings Accounts Creation: SB 1968 Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston); HB 4537 Mayes Middleton (R-Galveston)

SB 1968 and HB 4537 create an Education Savings Account program to financially assist low-income families with private school tuition and fees, purchasing textbooks or other instructional materials, private tutoring, and education therapies. The funding for these bills comes from tax credit incented donations as well as appropriated funds. In addition, we also support SB 1698 introduced by Senator Paxton which would create a scholarship tax credit program.