The month of September is one of my favorite months. Though the summer heat still lingers, crowded football stadiums, evening dove hunts, and Friday morning pep rallies signal the coming of a new season. While we eagerly await cooler temperatures, I hope you and your family will take part in some of the many activities that make September in Texas so special.
With that, here’s an update from your State Capitol…
House Interim Charge: Higher Education
The focus of this week’s column on interim charges is the House Committee on Higher Education. This nine-member committee has purview over all colleges, universities, and any other post-secondary education. The committee also oversees a number of state agencies, such as the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the AgriLife Extension Service.
While the committee will cover a number of topics this interim, perhaps the most important item will be covered in conjunction with the Public Education Subcommittee on Teacher Quality. That is, how can our state best attract, train, and retain qualified teachers in high-demand areas. As our state continues to add students in both the rural and urban areas, it becomes increasingly important that the educators who foster a student’s development are well-trained and experienced. The committees will review relevant data and examine current programs before making recommendations on how to keep boards of regents well-informed at our four-year institutions, how to scale programs and meet regional workforce needs, and how to keep the public informed on progress.
Additionally, the committee will be delving into the effects of increased participation in dual credit programs across Texas. While dual credit can certainly have a positive effect on college affordability, we must ensure that the courses being offered are meeting the rigor and quality standards that are necessary to reduce time-to-degree, while also enhancing college readiness for those taking the courses. Another topic the committees will look into relates to the impact of federal action on Title IX, and how that might apply to state law. In a similar vein, the committee will further examine how sexual misconduct is handled at institutions of higher education. There has been a lot of discussion surrounding outdated policies in this area, and I applaud this committee for focusing on this topic before any further wrongdoing takes place.
The mobile office is on the road this month and looks forward to seeing you on the following dates, in the following locations: September 5th at the Leon County Courthouse in Centerville from 9:00-11:00am, or at the Madison County Courthouse in Madisonville from 1:30-3:30pm; September 19th at the Houston County Courthouse Annex in Crockett from 9:00-11:00am, or at the Trinity County Courthouse in Groveton from 1:30-3:30pm.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact our office if we can help you in any way. Our district office may be reached at (936) 634-2762, or you can call my Capitol office at (512) 463-0508.