Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

April 1, 2013

Rep. Clardy: Weekly update from the Capitol

TRAVIS CLARDY
Jacksonville Daily Progress

AUSTIN — This week, our work in the House chamber was marked by vigorous debate about the future of Texas' public education and water availability. Many passionate representatives from both sides of the aisle came together in an effort to build the best policy, and after ten hours of respectful, concerted debate, the body ultimately created the policies that I believe are what's best for the future of Texas.

House Bill 5, of which I am a proud co-author, passed the House with tremendous bipartisan support. With only two members voting against the bill, it's clear that there is a strong statewide consensus for the measures we adopted to make education better for all of our children. In recent years, I have shared with our finest parents and teachers the belief  that our state has over-tested our students by relying too heavily on end-of-course exams. In our ardent efforts to gauge student achievement, we created a situation in which the tail was wagging the dog, and instead of focusing on improving learning within the classroom, our approach became unbalanced and dependent upon seeing how much the students knew. At the end of the day, you can't know much when you haven't learned, and we need to ensure that our teachers have the adequate time and resources to teach our students. This is why I am proud that HB 5 will reduce the number of high school end-of-course exams from fifteen to five and creates the endorsement system, in which our students can choose their own high school graduation plan from a range of subject pathways emphasizing college and workforce readiness, and career placement and advancement. The end aim of a good public education should be preparing our students to enter the workforce or a college campus.

Additionally, in keeping with my campaign promise to increase career and technical education, I recently authored House Bill 3662, which creates the Texas Workforce Innovation Needs (WIN) Program to provide selected school districts and public colleges  with the opportunity to establish innovative programs designed to prepare students for careers in demand in the State of Texas. Once the program is implemented, the selected schools and colleges will adopt new approaches that emphasize career and technical education collaborations, workforce-focused innovations, and dual credit education pathways.

In addition to this week's landmark public education reform, my fellow House colleagues and I passed House Bill 4, which creates new investments in our state's essential water projects. This bill will ensure that we have enough water for our ever-growing population over the next 50 years. As we go about our daily lives, sometimes we can take for granted the things we need to sustain it. I am proud to be a part of a Texas House that won't make that mistake.

In closing this week's update, I'd like to wish you all a very happy Easter Sunday as you worship with your friends and family.