Rep. Isaac’s STAAR Proposal Gains Momentum

Austin — Last week, Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) proposed fundamental reform to Texas’ standardized testing system: allowing school districts to select any nationally normed standardized test that meets Texas curriculum standards instead of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR).

“I’ve been so pleased with the overwhelmingly positive feedback I’ve heard not only from the district I serve, but also from people all across the State of Texas,” Rep. Isaac said Wednesday. “It’s become increasingly clear that top-down, one-size-fits-none testing doesn’t work for our schools or for our students.

“It’s time to put the ‘independent’ back in ‘independent school district’ and allow free-market principles to decrease costs and increase quality in standardized tests. It’s the least we can do to support our hard-working students and their families in light of the appalling errors they were forced to put up with during the last administration of STAAR.”

Potential bill language is still being finalized, but Rep. Isaac stated that his legislation will clearly state that eligible tests must be nationally normed and comply with Texas’ curriculum standards, the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).

The bill would also call on the Texas Education Agency to request a waiver from the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the successor of No Child Left Behind. ESSA is the source of many of the inflexible testing regulations school districts are held to. Specifically, ESSA requires identical statewide exams for elementary and middle schools — but not high schools.

“The Texas state of mind has always favored local control,” Rep. Isaac continued. “No Child Left Behind and ESSA have failed our students. It’s time for the Lone Star State to push back at the federal government’s heavy-handed regulations and allow our locally elected school board members the autonomy to select the test provider that best meets their schools’ and students’ needs.”

Throughout his time in the Texas Capitol, Rep. Isaac has authored and supported a number of bills aimed at reducing federal and state mandates that burden our schools, including House Bill 462, which prohibited the State of Texas from implementing Common Core, and House Bill 743, which aimed to limit the amount of time students spend on standardized tests.

Several legislators have indicated their interest in supporting Rep. Isaac’s new proposal, which Rep. Isaac plans to file when the 85th Legislative Session convenes in January.

Representing Blanco and Hays counties, Rep. Isaac has served House District 45 in the Texas Legislature since 2011. He is a member of the Economic and Small Business Development, Environmental Regulation, and Local and Consent Calendars committees and is chair of the Subcommittee on Small Business. He lives in Drippings Springs with his wife, Carrie, and two sons who attend public schools.

 

Rep. Isaac Proposes Alternatives to STAAR

Austin — In light of more bad news about Texas’ standardized testing system, the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR), Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) is calling for fundamental reform.

“Flawed testing practices threaten the State of Texas’ ability to fulfill our education system’s goals — and our children’s futures,” Rep. Isaac said Monday. “The litany of errors being uncovered about STAAR is simply a disservice to our students, hard-working teachers, and families. To that end, I propose that schools be given the freedom to choose from a variety of nationally normed standardized tests, not have their hands tied while the State of Texas tries to iron out STAAR’s many kinks.”

Since STAAR was last administered in May, news has trickled out about problems with test administration, including lost or late testing materials, glitches that erased test results, and mishandling of students’ private information. STAAR also failed to meet the provisions of House Bill 743, which Rep. Isaac joint authored and requires that 85% of students be able to complete the exams within two or three hours, depending on grade. The Texas Education Agency last week announced that its testing vendor, Educational Testing Services, has been fined more than $20 million for these errors, possibly the largest such fine in Texas history.

“I’m pleased that the Texas Education Agency has taken significant steps to improve STAAR, but it’s clear there is still more work to be done,” Rep. Isaac stated. “School districts should not be hampered by an inefficient and ineffective system. Adding a dose of free-market philosophy to education by allowing a variety of standardized test options can only drive down costs and improve quality.”

Rep. Isaac continued, “I hope my colleagues will join me when the 85th Legislative Session convenes in seeking transformational changes that will ensure that testing is a benefit, not a burden, to Texas’ students, teachers, and families.”

Representing Blanco and Hays counties, Rep. Isaac has served House District 45 in the Texas Legislature since 2011. He is a member of the Economic and Small Business Development, Environmental Regulation, and Local and Consent Calendars committees and is chair of the Subcommittee on Small Business. He lives in Drippings Springs with his wife, Carrie, and two sons who attend public schools.

 

Austin — Reps. Jason Isaac (Dripping Springs) and Tony Dale (Cedar Park) have requested that Governor Abbott designate the practice of “passing the trash” an emergency item for the 85th Legislative Session, which convenes in January.

State law currently requires school district superintendents to report teachers who resign after allegations of sexual misconduct to the Texas Education Agency. However, there is no statutory consequence for failing to do so. When this happens, sexual predators are allowed to keep their teacher certification and are often hired in other schools or districts, exposing more students to sexual abuse.

“As a father of two boys in public schools, I am appalled that teachers who commit sexual transgressions against our children are so frequently allowed to continue teaching,” Rep. Isaac wrote in his letter to the governor. “‘Passing the trash’ to another district instead of taking it out of our education system is putting innocent students at risk every day.

“It’s clear that current state law simply does not go far enough to protect the children of Texas,” Rep. Isaac said. “I look forward to working with Governor Abbott and my colleagues in the legislature to end this practice permanently.”

“Those who prey on our innocent children should know that we will not tolerate it. Those who fail to report such incidents must face serious criminal penalties. The protection of children must be the highest obligation of the state. The era of passing the trash must end,” said Rep. Dale.

Reps. Isaac and Dale has also asked Attorney General Ken Paxton and the Texas Rangers to conduct an investigation to determine whether any laws have been violated and, if so, the consequences.

Representing Blanco and Hays counties, Rep. Isaac has served House District 45 in the Texas Legislature since 2011. He is a member of the Economic and Small Business Development, Environmental Regulation and Local and Consent Calendars committees and is chair of the Subcommittee on Small Business. He lives in Drippings Springs with his wife, Carrie, and two sons.

State Rep. Tony Dale is a member of the House Committees on Homeland Security and Public Safety, Energy Resources, and Local and Consent Calendars. He represents southwestern Williamson County, Cedar Park, Leander, Brushy Creek, and parts of Austin and Round Rock.

 

Austin, TX — Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) has been elected vice president of the Texas Conservative Coalition (TCC).

TCC is a nonprofit organization of Texas state legislators advocating for conservative principles including limited government, individual liberty, free enterprise and traditional values.

“It’s an absolute honor to be entrusted with helping lead the Texas Conservative Coalition as we head into the 85th Legislative Session,” Rep. Isaac said. “Last session has been widely called the most effective and conservative in recent history, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to continue that trend.”

Also elected for TCC’s 2016-2018 term were Rep. James Frank (R-Wichita Falls) as president, Rep. Jodie Laubenberg (R-Parker) as secretary and Rep. Ron Simmons (R-Carrollton) as treasurer.

“Having worked closely with Rep. Isaac, I know his steadfast commitment to the conservative values we share will serve both TCC and the State of Texas well,” said Rep. Frank.

Rep. Isaac previously served as TCC’s treasurer.

Representing Blanco and Hays counties, Rep. Isaac has served House District 45 in the Texas Legislature since 2011. He is a member of the Economic and Small Business Development, Environmental Regulation and Local and Consent Calendars committees and is chair of the Subcommittee on Small Business. He lives in Drippings Springs with his wife, Carrie, and two sons.

 

Last month, six American soldiers were tragically killed in action in Afghanistan by a suicide bomber. Among them was Staff Sergeant Michael A. Cinco, a resident of Mercedes, Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley area. Sergeant Cinco served our nation bravely, fighting at home and abroad to protect our liberty as a member of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, and died at just 28 years old.

IMG_6888aI have formally requested that the Honor and Remember flag be flown over the Texas State Capitol today and asked government agencies and veterans’ organizations in Hays and Blanco Counties to make this same gesture. This flag was created as a symbol of America’s fallen service men and women. I invite you to share it on Facebook and Twitter to show the State of Texas’ gratitude for Sergeant Cinco’s admirable service and tragic sacrifice.

Funeral services for Sergeant Cinco will be held at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio on January 6. Please join me in praying for peace and comfort for the Cinco family and for all who have lost a loved one in service of our nation.

 

Austin, TX — Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) has earned an A+ rating from Americans for Prosperity-Texas in recognition of his consistent conservative leadership in the 84th Legislative Session and support of principles such as limited government, fiscal responsibility and cutting taxes.

A chapter of the national organization Americans for Prosperity, AFP-Texas advocates for limited government, low government spending, individual responsibility and a strong economy. Its biennial legislative report card grades state senators and representatives based on their votes on key issues.

Rep. Isaac was among only handful of legislators to achieve a perfect score of 100. Among the votes graded were passing a permanent 25 percent cut in business taxes, supporting a stricter spending limit, prohibiting local governments from banning hydraulic fracturing and supporting local control in education.

“Rep. Isaac’s voting record clearly shows a commitment to economic freedom and to defending the American Dream,” said AFP-Texas State Director Jerome Greer.

“I’m proud of the work we’ve done in the Texas Legislature to limit government and put more control in the hands of hardworking Texans,” Rep. Isaac stated. “It’s an honor to be recognized by AFP-Texas as a conservative leader in the Texas House of Representatives.”

AFP-Texas’ 2015 Texas Legislative Report Card is available on its website.

Representing Blanco and Hays Counties, Rep. Isaac has served House District 45 in the Texas Legislature since 2011. He is a member of the Economic and Small Business Development, Environmental Regulation and Local and Consent Calendars committees and is chair of the Subcommittee on Small Business Development. He lives in Drippings Springs with his wife, Carrie, and two sons.

 

Rep. Isaac Earns “Courageous Conservative” Award

AUSTIN, TX – State Representative Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) has been named a “Courageous Conservative” by the Texas Conservative Coalition (TCC) for his role in advancing conservative principles in the 84th Legislature.  This award is based on a comprehensive scorecard in which hundreds of votes are scored, and is the most representative, deliberative and reliable scorecard available to members.

Rep. Isaac stated, “It’s an honor to be to be recognized for my conservative leadership and voting record in the House.  As an effective and conservative member I’m happy to report to the people I serve in Hays and Blanco counties that we made significant cuts in taxes while maintaining a balanced budget.”
“For the first time in three decades Texas will not utilize short-term debt through Tax and Revenue Anticipation Notes (TRANS) to meet cashflow needs, thus truly living within our means,” Rep. Isaac continued.

TCC is backed by research from a conservative think-tank, Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute, and is guided by four principles: Limited Government, Individual Liberties, Free Enterprise, and Traditional Values.
60 members of the Texas Legislature signed the 2015 TCC Pledge with Texans that promises to advance, support and vote for legislation to secure the border, improve public education, reform and reduce taxes, advance fiscal responsibility, and advance economic freedom.
Rep. Isaac concluded, “I pledged, to the people I serve, to support conservative principles and have kept my word.”

Rep. Isaac is a TCC board member and was elected by conservative colleagues to an officer position earlier this year.  He has received this award in all three terms that he has served in the Texas Legislature.

 

Isaac & Campbell Announce Hays County Water Bill as Law
Successful Efforts to Save Our Wells

AUSTIN, TX – State Representative Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) and State Senator Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) officially announce Hays County groundwater protection bill as law, effective immediately.  HB 3405 expands the boundaries of the Barton Springs-Edwards Aquifer Conservation District (BSEACD) to cover a portion of the Trinity Aquifer in Hays County that is not within a groundwater district.

Rep. Isaac commented, “After a year of working on a solution and battling all session to save our wells, I am extremely pleased to announce HB 3405 is officially law.”

By expanding the boundaries of the BSEACD, HB 3405 protects property rights and groundwater within Hays County.  Additionally, BSEACD is a non-taxing district, and residential and agricultural wells will be exempt from fees and monitoring.

“Without the passage of HB 3405, a portion of the Trinity Aquifer would have remained outside the boundaries of a groundwater district, and allowed for unlimited pumping at the detriment to people who live around a water exporting well field,” Rep. Isaac stated. “I want to extend my sincerest gratitude to all of the constituents who took the time to call and send thousands of emails in support of this legislation that is of the utmost importance to Hays County.”

Town hall meetings are planned to inform residents about the new legislation, policy changes, and resources and requirements for well owners in the annexed area.  BSEACD is collaborating with the Hays County Commissioners Court and Representative Jason Isaac to host the first Town Hall meeting.  The goal will be to have the meeting webcast and archived for those residents that cannot attend.  Details will be announced as they are finalized.

Sen. Campbell stated, “In the midst of tragedy and flooding, this bill represents a huge victory for Hays County residents, a sign of hope and what we can accomplish working together.  It has been a pleasure to partner with Rep. Isaac on behalf of Hays County property owners and I am confident that the work we have done will help protect groundwater in the Texas Hill Country for generations.”

For questions and more information regarding the Barton Springs-Edwards Aquifer Conservation District, visit www.bseacd.org.

 

AUSTIN, TX –  State Representative Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) and State Senator Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) today, filed legislation to expand the boundaries of two groundwater conservation districts in Hays County, as well as a bill to prevent Goforth Special Utility District from exercising the power of eminent domain outside of the boundaries and service area of the district.

Rep. Isaac stated, “This isn’t just a water issue, it’s also about property rights.  Goforth using their eminent domain authority, for the benefit of a private company, is an egregious abuse of their power.  HB 3407 will prevent Goforth from acquiring the pipeline easements from property owners along FM 3237 and FM 150, and anywhere else that is not within the boundaries of their district.”

HB 3405/SB 1439 and HB 3406/SB 1440, will annex an area of the aquifer, which currently remains unprotected and just outside the boundary of a priority groundwater management area, by expanding either the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District or the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District.

“For generations, Texans have been faced with the challenge of building vibrant communities while protecting our natural resources,” said State Sen. Donna Campbell.  “By working with Rep. Jason Isaac and members of the Hays County community on legislation to protect groundwater in the Trinity Aquifer, I am confident that we are taking a key step to preserve the natural beauty of the Texas Hill Country, strengthen private property rights, and meet the demands of rapid population growth through responsible development in Central Texas.”

Rep. Isaac concluded, “I remain more than hopeful that the legislation we filed today will help bring a solution to protect not only the Trinity Aquifer, but also well owners who are worried about their wells running dry in the near future, and property owners who could lose their land from the wrongful use of eminent domain powers.”

For more information or to track the status of legislation, visit www.capitol.state.tx.us.

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Rep. Isaac Files Public Education Reform Bills

AUSTIN, TX – State Representative Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs), with input from parents, students, teachers, and administrators filed four education bills to reduce burdensome unfunded mandates, reduce our dependence on standardized testing, and help shift decision making into the hands of local school districts.

HB 1866 adds multiple alternative assessment options for school districts to choose from under the public school accountability system.  HB 1867 seeks to eliminate the burden on school districts when the legislature has not appropriated sufficient funds for a district to comply with a state mandate.

Rep. Isaac stated, “It is critical that we start giving options to our local schools so they can have the independence to make choices as an Independent School District.  We tell districts how to do too much and then don’t give them the money to do it.”

HB 1868 places a limit on the amount of time required for students to take an assessment.  Additionally, the Texas Education Agency would be responsible for ensuring that certain grade levels are given an assessment that can be completed in an appropriate amount of time.

“The urgency and importance of this bill was brought to my attention last December when I had a meeting with several parents and teachers from the district who are concerned with how stressed and anxious students become because of the time allotted for taking lengthy assessments,” Rep. Isaac said.

HB 1869 allows schools to offer a course or activity for vocational credit that applies to the licensing requirements for plumbers and electricians.  It would also allow school districts to issue a teaching permit and employ a person who does not have a teaching certificate but has a plumbing or electrical license.

Rep. Isaac concluded, “Texas students deserve a world-class education that prepares them for a future, not just taking a test.  I am hopeful that the Texas Legislature will take the steps necessary this session to help our local schools provide every child with a path to success.”

To track the status of legislation, visit www.capitol.state.tx.us.