Submitted by Shane Mauldin, McKinney ISD
AUSTIN—Despite unanimous approval in both the Texas House and the Senate, Gov. Rick Perry on Friday vetoed House Bill 2824, the bill related to the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium. HB 2824 would have provided space and flexibility to the 23 school districts participating in the Consortium to carry out the research and development necessary to accomplish the goals initially outlined in Senate Bill 1557 to transform public education.
“It is very unfortunate that Governor Perry vetoed a bill that had the unanimous support of both the House and the Senate,” said McKinney ISD Superintendent Dr. J.D. Kennedy, a member of the Consortium. “Not a single congressman voted against the bill. This bill would have continued the work of the High Performance Schools Consortium to create a better accountability system. The Consortium was authorized by SB1557 from the previous session.”
Consortium co-chair Jeff Turner, superintendet of Coppell ISD, called it “indeed a disappointing day.” Turner added, “But we have a moral imperative to create a new system with students at the center and that is focused on deep learning, using more meaningful assessments. HB 2824 may have died. Our resolve to transform the system of public education for the benefit of children never will.”
In 2011, Gov. Perry signed into law SB 1557 establishing the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium to inform policymakers on methods for transforming Texas public schools by improving student learning, with a focus on digital learning, high-priority learning standards, multiple assessments, and community involvement. In September 2012, Commissioner Michael Williams selected 23 school districts to participate in the Consortium, representing a range of district types, sizes, and diverse student populations.
“The Consortium was the vehicle for Research and Development for public schools in Texas,” Kennedy said. “McKinney ISD will continue to assess the success of our students with other measures besides sole reliance on standardized test results. We just remained shackled by the current system.”
Dawson Orr, Consortium co-chair and superintendent of Highland Park ISD, added that the Consortium is fully committed to carrying out the intent of SB 1557 that created the Consortium and to the spirit of HB 2824 that garnered unanimous support in both the House and the Senate.
“Even though the governor’s actions today make it more difficult to accomplish our charge, we remain steadfast in our mission to transform public education, with student-centered learning as the driving force behind everything we do,” Orr said.