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  87R2356 ANG-F
 
  By: Zaffirini S.B. No. 1740
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the inclusion of civics education in public schools,
  including continuing education requirements on civics education
  for certain classroom teachers.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 21.054, Education Code, is amended by
  amending Subsection (d) and adding Subsection (d-3) to read as
  follows:
         (d)  Continuing education requirements for a classroom
  teacher must provide that at least 25 percent of the training
  required every five years include instruction regarding:
               (1)  collecting and analyzing information that will
  improve effectiveness in the classroom;
               (2)  recognizing early warning indicators that a
  student may be at risk of dropping out of school;
               (3)  digital learning, digital teaching, and
  integrating technology into classroom instruction;
               (4)  educating diverse student populations, including:
                     (A)  students who are eligible to participate in
  special education programs under Subchapter A, Chapter 29;
                     (B)  students who are eligible to receive
  educational services required under Section 504, Rehabilitation
  Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. Section 794);
                     (C)  students with mental health conditions or who
  engage in substance abuse;
                     (D)  students with intellectual or developmental
  disabilities;
                     (E)  students who are educationally
  disadvantaged;
                     (F)  students of limited English proficiency; and
                     (G)  students at risk of dropping out of school;
               (5)  understanding appropriate relationships,
  boundaries, and communications between educators and students;
  [and]
               (6)  how mental health conditions, including grief and
  trauma, affect student learning and behavior and how
  evidence-based, grief-informed, and trauma-informed strategies
  support the academic success of students affected by grief and
  trauma; and
               (7)  for a classroom teacher who teaches social
  studies:
                     (A)  teaching a civics practicum required under
  Section 28.002(h-4), if the teacher teaches social studies at the
  applicable grade levels;
                     (B)  leading guided classroom discussions of
  current events;
                     (C)  simulations and models of governmental and
  democratic processes; and
                     (D)  media literacy, including instruction on
  verifying information and sources and identifying propaganda.
         (d-3)  The agency shall maintain a list of available courses
  that include instruction regarding teaching a civics practicum as
  described by Subsection (d)(7) and make the list readily accessible
  to classroom teachers who teach social studies.
         SECTION 2.  Section 28.002, Education Code, is amended by
  adding Subsections (h-2), (h-3), and (h-4) to read as follows:
         (h-2)  In adopting the essential knowledge and skills for the
  social studies curriculum under Subsection (a), the State Board of
  Education shall adopt essential knowledge and skills that develop
  each student's:
               (1)  civic knowledge, including an understanding of:
                     (A)  the history, qualities, traditions, and
  features of civic engagement in the United States;
                     (B)  the structure, function, and processes of
  government institutions at the federal, state, and local levels;
                     (C)  the founding documents of the United States;
                     (D)  how geography and economics affect federal,
  state, and local policy; and
                     (E)  the role of a United States citizen;
               (2)  civic skills, including the skills necessary to:
                     (A)  actively and responsibly participate as a
  citizen in a democracy;
                     (B)  engage effectively in civic life and with
  government institutions at the federal, state, and local levels;
                     (C)  analyze and determine the reliability of
  information sources;
                     (D)  formulate and articulate reasoned positions;
                     (E)  actively listen and engage in civil
  discourse; and
                     (F)  collaborate and engage in community
  organizing; 
               (3)  civic attitudes, including:
                     (A)  an appreciation for the importance and
  responsibility of participating in civic life;
                     (B)  commitment to the United States and the
  United States' system of government; 
                     (C)  an appreciation for free speech and civil
  discourse;
                     (D)  civic self-efficacy; and
                     (E)  an understanding of different perspectives;
  and
               (4)  civic behaviors through experiential learning,
  including:
                     (A)  voting;
                     (B)  engaging in deliberative discussions;
                     (C)  volunteering;
                     (D)  attending public meetings; and
                     (E)  engaging in other civic activities.
         (h-3)  The agency shall ensure that each school district
  teaches civics education as part of the district's social studies
  curriculum in a manner consistent with the essential knowledge and
  skills adopted under Subsection (h-2).
         (h-4)  The State Board of Education shall adopt rules
  requiring each student to complete a student-led, content-focused
  civics practicum once during grade eight and once while in high
  school as part of the social studies curriculum. Each civics
  practicum may be designed to be completed individually, in a small
  group, or as a class and must:
               (1)  be nonpartisan;
               (2)  be consistent with and clearly linked to the
  essential knowledge and skills adopted for social studies;
               (3)  focus on building civic knowledge, skills,
  attitudes, and behaviors as described by Subsection (h-2);
               (4)  promote a student's ability to:
                     (A)  rigorously research and analyze information;
                     (B)  make logical arguments with supporting
  evidence;
                     (C)  present complex issues from multiple
  perspectives; and
                     (D)  engage in civil discourse with people who
  hold positions different than the student's; and
               (5)  require a student to demonstrate an understanding
  of the relationship between federal, state, and local government
  and between the policies at each level of government.
         SECTION 3.  Subchapter A, Chapter 28, Education Code, is
  amended by adding Section 28.0028 to read as follows:
         Sec. 28.0028.  SUPPLEMENTAL READING LIST. (a) The agency
  shall develop a reading list of supplemental civics-focused texts
  for each grade level that a school district may use as part of the
  district's reading curriculum. The reading list developed under
  this section must be distributed to every school district and
  open-enrollment charter school not later than September 1 of each
  school year.
         (b)  The reading list developed under Subsection (a):
               (1)  must:
                     (A)  include only nonfiction texts; and
                     (B)  be designed to:
                           (i)  build civics background knowledge and
  vocabulary for the elementary grades; and
                           (ii)  provide a rich study in rhetoric,
  reasoning, and argumentation for the secondary grades; and
               (2)  may include:
                     (A)  the founding documents of the United States;
                     (B)  biographies of prominent United States or
  Texas citizens; and
                     (C)  the writings or speeches of national and
  state leaders.
         (c)  Not later than August 1 of each school year the agency
  shall review the list adopted under Subsection (a) and determine if
  any reading material should be:
               (1)  removed from the list; or
               (2)  added to the list.
         SECTION 4.  Subchapter Z, Chapter 29, Education Code, is
  amended by adding Section 29.919 to read as follows:
         Sec. 29.919.  CIVICS EDUCATION FUND AND GRANT PROGRAM. (a)
  The civics education fund is a special fund in the treasury outside
  the general revenue fund. The fund is composed of:
               (1)  money appropriated or transferred to the credit of
  the fund by the legislature;
               (2)  gifts, grants, or donations contributed to the
  fund; and
               (3)  the returns received from investment of money in
  the fund.
         (b)  Before a gift, grant, or donation received from a
  private source may be deposited to the credit of the civics
  education fund, the agency shall ensure that the gift, grant, or
  donation is not accompanied by conditions that are detrimental to
  the neutral and rigorous teaching of civics or that will unduly
  influence the direction of civics education policy. The agency
  shall make available to the public any determination the agency
  makes under this subsection.
         (c)  Money in the civics education fund may be appropriated
  only for purposes of the grant program established under this
  section.
         (d)  The agency shall establish a competitive grant program
  to provide funding to school districts, open-enrollment charter
  schools, public institutions of higher education, and other
  relevant stakeholder organizations to assist with the
  implementation of civics education in public schools. In awarding
  grants, the agency may prioritize underserved communities, such as
  school districts or open-enrollment charter schools with high
  concentrations of educationally disadvantaged students.
         (e)  Money awarded under the grant program may be used only
  to:
               (1)  implement civics education, including to pay costs
  associated with professional development training in civics
  education for classroom teachers who teach social studies; and
               (2)  collaborate with stakeholder organizations for
  the implementation of civics education.
         (f)  The agency may contract with a qualified third party to
  manage the grant program. 
         (g)  Not later than September 1 of each even-numbered year,
  the agency shall submit to the legislature a report on the civics
  education fund and the grant program. The report must include:
               (1)  the sources and amounts of money deposited to the
  credit of the fund;
               (2)  the amount and purposes of each expenditure from
  the fund;
               (3)  information regarding any grants provided to a
  public institution of higher education or another stakeholder
  organization; and
               (4)  anticipated revenue and expenditure projections
  for the fund for the next two years.
         (h)  The commissioner may adopt rules to implement this
  section.
         SECTION 5.  Section 39.023, Education Code, is amended by
  adding Subsections (a-17) and (c-9) to read as follows:
         (a-17)  A reading assessment instrument adopted or developed
  under Subsection (a) must include excerpts from texts included on
  the reading list developed under Section 28.0028 for the applicable
  grade level.
         (c-9)  The English I and English II end-of-course assessment
  instruments adopted under Subsection (c) must include excerpts from
  texts included on the reading list developed under Section 28.0028
  for a high school grade level.
         SECTION 6.  (a) As soon as practicable after the effective
  date of this Act, the State Board for Educator Certification shall
  propose rules implementing Section 21.054(d), Education Code, as
  amended by this Act.
         (b)  A classroom teacher subject to continuing education
  requirements immediately before the effective date of this Act is
  not required to comply with the continuing education requirements
  described by Section 21.054(d), Education Code, as amended by this
  Act, for any continuing education requirements period that ends
  before January 1, 2022.
         SECTION 7.  Sections 28.002 and 39.023, Education Code, as
  amended by this Act, and Section 29.919, Education Code, as added by
  this Act, apply beginning with the 2022-2023 school year.
         SECTION 8.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect September 1, 2021.