I started this week presenting the sixth edition of “Texas on the Brink” from the Legislative Study Group with several of my colleagues. “Texas on the Brink” has provided information on how statewide public policy decisions have impacted our daily lives since 2003.
The sixth edition report reiterated what many of us are already aware of: Texas is not performing where it should be.
I discussed Higher Education in Texas and shared some of the following statistics:
Approximately 54% of first-time students attending two-year colleges, and 15% of students at four-year universities are not college ready.
Only 17.2% of Texans have attained a Bachelor’s degree.
In our own county of El Paso, only 19.8% of the population has a Bachelor’s degree or higher, as opposed to the 44% in Travis County.
Texas ranks 41st in the number of high school graduates going to college (Washington, D.C. included).
The statistics in this report reminds us that we have a lot of work to do to get Texas moving forward. You can read the entire report here.
Giving adequate adjustment time for English Language Learners in our schools
On Tuesday House Bill 2004 was voted out of the Public Education Committee, which provides greater transition time to relieve certain students and school districts of some of the pressure caused by Texas’s high stakes testing system in this unique instance.
My bill requires English Language Learning (ELL) students or recent immigrants to be enrolled in a U.S. school for a minimum of 60 consecutive days to count towards a school year of enrollment. In addition, these students may not have their performance on a standardized test count towards their school’s performance rating for two years.
If passed, HB 2004 has the opportunity to better tailor state testing to fit the unique student population in our border communities.
Promoting transparency for Texas workers concerning wage theft.
House Bill 1131 creates a database on the Texas Workforce Commission website to provide a central location where workers, business owners, and other Texans can identify who has been convicted of wage theft. It is my hope that this will serve as a deterrent to any individual or company who is thinking about not paying a Texan for their work.
HB 1131 was voted out of the Economic and Small Business Development Committee Wednesday.
The passage of these bills out of their committees marks a significant step in the legislative process. They now have the opportunity to be debated and voted on in the House. I’m extremely proud of these bills, and I’m excited to continue to move them forward to bring progress to the El Paso community and the rest of Texas.