Texas Ed: Comments on Education from Texas

November 29, 2006

Legislature Knows Best

Filed under: Legislature, Parental Involvement — texased @ 10:47 am

The next session of the Texas Legislature doesn’t begin until January but members can and are already filling bills. And thanks to the internet, you can now track all legislation online. Now my natural inclination would be to say that this is a good thing, open government, accountability and all. But sometimes, you have to wonder. Take the following bill for example:

80(R) HB 314 – Introduced version – Bill Text:

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
AN ACT
relating to the classroom placement of multiple birth siblings in public schools.
�������BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
�������SECTION�1.��Subchapter B, Chapter 25, Education Code, is amended by adding Section 25.043 to read as follows:
�������Sec.�25.043.��CLASSROOM PLACEMENT OF MULTIPLE BIRTH SIBLINGS. �(a) �In this section:�������������(1)��”Multiple birth sibling”�means a twin, triplet, quadruplet, or other sibling resulting from a multiple birth.
�������������(2)��”Parent”�includes a parent standing in parental relation.
�������(b)��The parent of multiple birth siblings who are assigned to the same grade level and school may request that the school place the siblings in the same classroom or in separate classrooms.

Apparently Rep. Eissler wants to give parents the authority to decide if their “multiple birth siblings” should be in a class together. This bill would allow them to do so with the school only being able to override the decision if it causes classroom disruptions.

When I see bill like this I have to wonder why are they necessary. My guess would be that some schools have denied the parents’ requests for their children to be in the same class because they presumed they knew what was better for the children than the parents. What arrogance!

Now I know there are some flaky parents out there who perhaps aren’t serving their children’s best interests when they insist they be in the same classroom. But don’t they deserve the benefit of the doubt? Maybe, just maybe, they know what is in the emotional best interest of their children?

Because of some imperious administrator, (I’m assuming that the final decision is such cases would be made at this level) a representative has filed a bill so that the problem can be resolved by the legislature. You would think that the legislature would have better things to do in it’s limited time but otherwise the situation may not be rectified.

Unfortunately, we will probably see a number of similar bills throughout the session. Rather than the legislature having to make rules to prevent administrators from making bone-headed decisions, maybe they should work on holding administrators more accountable for the decisions they make.

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