Visualizing Days of Lege Debate: Education

It took a series of rancorous debates this session for lawmakers to reach agreement on how to finance public education in the 2012-2013 biennium. The mandate relief package passed during the special session allows schools districts to furlough teachers, minimize salary requirements, and apply for waivers to increase class size. Use the Trib's latest interactive to track what lawmakers said about Texas education and the potential effects of all the changes on our schools. An overview of the "Visualizing Days of Debate" series can be found here with a brief tutorial on how to interpret the graphs.

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Highlights from the House

March, 31 2011House Gives Early OK to Bills Balancing '11 Budget

"Have you heard of folks from other countries coming in and taking our jobs because they have the education and we don't have the professionals to be able to perform those duties?" — Rep. Joe Farias, D-San Antonio

April, 6 2011Texas House Passes School Testing Bill

"We are all hear from parents and teachers that schools are more focused on testing than learning. We have stamped out creativity and the joy of learning," — Rep. Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands

May, 6 2011Attempt to Lift Class Size Ratio Stumbles Again

"I present to you House Bill 400, a bill that will allow our schools to operate more efficiently. Educating our students is our most important responsibility and our schools are facing complex challenges. I strongly believe decisions are best made locally, not micromanaged from Austin," — Rep. Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands

May, 19 2011

"Mr. Walle, the gist of your motion is that the conferees be instructed to take essentially $3.9 billion from the rainy day fund for purposes of putting it into the bill for school -- education. Is that the gist of your motion?" — Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine

May, 23 2011Time Dwindling, Another Lost Chance at School Finance

"I know 1581 is a very encompassing bill with a lot of facets, a lot of amendments will be put on. But one of our biggest issues are the formulas on how monies from what decisions are already made are going to go back to our ISDs," — Rep. Jim Keffer, R-Eastland

May, 29 2011

"What we are doing today is making our system, not just less equitable, but we're going backwards. We're going backwards in time, so that all the gains we have made in education will be challenged. And I don't know why," — Rep. Rene Oliveira, D-Brownsville

June, 9 2011Amid School Finance Scuffle, Pre-K Measure Returns

"And no reading and math and science initiatives, and no more full day of pre-K, and no more gifted and talented. And none of the -- none of the things that really have provided that economy that you and I are so proud of. Those things are gone," — Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine

June, 16 2011House Approves Key Education Bills

"We're talking about going above and beyond the current amount that's projected to be in the Rainy Day Fund, and to fund -- use the money that's been for enrollment growth of our students in school districts across the state, based on the amount that's projected by the legislative budget board of 2.2 billion," — Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin

Highlights from the Senate

April, 26 2011Anti-Bullying Bill Gets Early OK From Senate

"Members, currently law does not emphasize or require a specific policy by school districts to address the growing problems with school bullying and cyber bullying. These events are lumped in with their other harassment prohibited conduct statements. Texas needs to join with the other 37 states which have passed specific legislation to deal with these concerns," — Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston

April, 28 2011SB 4 Sparks Quarrel Between Shapiro, Teachers Groups

"Senate Bill 4 is probably one of the most creative things that we will do this legislative session. I am very proud to tell you that we have the teacher groups, we had stakeholders of all kinds with us trying to craft this national model for what we believe at the end of the day will be one of the best curriculum developers and best for our teachers that we could possibly do," — Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano

May, 3 2011Campus Carry Fails to Pass the Senate — Again

"Senator, the same thing applies when those 14 or 17 years old — for that matter six years old or 12 years old go to a shopping mall or go to HEB to shop for groceries or go to CVS pharmacy where licensed sed concealed carry — persons are present," — Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio

May, 24 2011Once-Stalled Education Bills Live On as Amendments

"This amendment simply states that Texas cannot adopt a federally mandated or national common curriculum assessment or instruction materials," — Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston

May, 28 2011Liveblog: Texas Legislature Passes $15 Billion In Cuts

"It appears against high odds we also will reach an agreement with the House to match the education statutes with the level of funding this budget, preventing a huge deficit in public education funding next biennium," — Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan

June, 3 2011This Time, Texas Budget Bills Sail Through Senate

"As part of the call, we polled on a couple of issues asking about the cuts in public education and whether members of the district that I represent would like to see an end to some of these loopholes, and we specifically asked a question on this particular loophole. 90 percent of those over 5,000 people on the call expressed their desire that this loophole be ended, that the $1.2 billion be added to public school funding to help shore up the $4 billion shortfall," — Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth