C.S.H.B. 411 78(R)    BILL ANALYSIS

C.S.H.B. 411
By: Grusendorf
Public Education
Committee Report (Substituted)


Texas suffers from a widely recognized teacher shortage which is
especially acute in the area of science. Teachers could be recruited and
the performance of Texas students on assessment exams could be improved
with increased resources for science instruction and continuing education
of science teachers. 


C.S.H.B. 411 creates science training programs for teachers, tutoring
programs for students, and a grant program for master science teachers. 


It is the committee's opinion that rulemaking authority is expressly
granted to the commissioner of education in SECTION 2 (Section 21.413,
Education Code) and SECTION 4 (Section 29.089, Education Code) of this


C.S.H.B. 411 amends the Education  Code to require the State Board for
Educator Certification to establish a master  science teacher certificate
(certificate) and sets forth eligibility requirements for a teacher to
receive a certificate. The bill requires the commissioner of education
(commissioner) to establish a master  science teacher grant program to
encourage teachers to become certified as master  science teachers and to
work with students and other teachers to improve student science
performance. From funds appropriated for that purpose, the commissioner is
required to make grants, in the amount of $5,000, to school districts to
pay stipends to selected certified master  science teachers who teach at
high-need campuses. The bill requires the commissioner, by rule, to
annually identify and rank, in order of greatest need, each high-need

The bill authorizes a school district to apply to the commissioner for
grants to pay stipends to certified master science teachers. The bill sets
forth the criteria for evaluating and approving applications.  The bill
also sets forth provisions regarding the application of districts for the
grants, and the distribution, funding, use, and auditing of the grants.
The bill requires the commissioner to develop and make available training
material and resources for school districts to use in assisting science
teachers in developing expertise in teaching science.   

The bill authorizes a school district to provide an intensive after-school
or summer program to provide science instruction to students who are
performing poorly in science. The bill sets forth provisions regulating
the manner in which a district must administer such a program. The bill
requires the commissioner to, by rule, establish procedures regarding the
application of school districts for funding, adopt guidelines for the
selection of districts to receive funding, require the administration of
assessment exams by the districts, and disseminate information regarding
successful instructional methods. The bill provides that an after-school
or summer program shall be paid with funds appropriated for that purpose.  
 The bill reenacts and amends Section 822.201(b), Government Code,
relating to the definition of salary and wages. The State Board for
Educator Certification shall propose rules establishing requirements and
prescribing an examination for master science teacher certification by
January 1, 2005 (SECTION 6).   


September 1, 2003.


C.S.H.B. 411 modifies the original version by removing the provisions
relating to the development of professional development institutes for
teachers who provide instruction in science. C.S.H.B. 411 modifies the
original by removing provisions relating assessment instruments that a
school  district may use to diagnose student science skills.    

C.S.H.B. 411 modifies the original by adding that training materials
developed by the commissioner for assisting science teachers in developing
expertise in teaching science must address instructional approaches
designed to reduce identified disparities in student science performance.