Establishing policy and providing leadership for the Texas public school system are the responsibilities of the State Board of Education. By adopting policies and setting standards for educational programs, the board provides the direction necessary to enable Texas public schools to prepare today’s schoolchildren for a successful future.
Composed of 15 members elected from roughly equally populous State Board of Education districts, the board adopts rules and establishes policies that govern a wide range of educational programs and services provided by Texas public schools. The commissioner of education serves as chief executive officer of the board and supervises the administration of board rules through the Texas Education Agency. Together the board, the commissioner, and the agency facilitate the operation of a vast public school system consisting of 1,237 school districts and charter schools, more than 8,400 campuses, more than 659,000 educators and other employees, and more than 4.8 million schoolchildren.
As part of its efforts to provide the best possible education to public school students, the board designates and mandates instruction in the knowledge and skills that are essential to a well-balanced curriculum. It also reviews and adopts instructional materials based on those curriculum standards.
In its other activities, the board oversees the investment of the Permanent School Fund, approves the creation of charter schools, and adopts regulations and standards for the operation of adult education programs provided by public school districts, junior colleges and universities.
The board is required to meet at least quarterly. Meetings are usually held in the William B. Travis State Office Building, which houses the Texas Education Agency, at 1701 North Congress Avenue in Austin. Each meeting, except for executive sessions restricted by law to specific topics, is open to the public.
Although policy decisions must be made by the full board, much of the detailed preliminary work is completed in committee sessions usually held on the Wednesday or Thursday preceding each meeting. Here, members of three standing committees — Instruction, School Finance/Permanent School Fund, and School Initiatives — consider items listed in the board agenda for the scheduled business meeting and review staff progress reports of work under way, proposals for new programs, and suggestions for improving current efforts.
The Committee on Instruction has primary responsibility for issues dealing with curriculum and instruction, student testing, special education programs, and alternatives to social promotion.
Primary responsibility for the preliminary work on issues dealing with the Permanent School Fund and school finance rests with the Committee on School Finance/Permanent School Fund.
The Committee on School Initiatives deals with issues such as the authorization of new charter schools and rules proposed by the State Board of Educator Certification.
Approximately one week before each meeting, the agenda is posted on the Texas Education Agency's website at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index3.aspx?id=1156. A copy of the agenda is also made available to each of the 20 regional education service centers located throughout the state. A meeting notice is published on the "Current Meeting Notices" page on the Texas Register website at http://info.sos.state.tx.us/pls/pub/pubomquery$.startup. The agenda is also available at board meetings. Individuals wishing to testify before the board should contact the executive assistant to the State Board of Education for information regarding registration procedures at (512) 463-9007 or fax at (512) 936-4319. Individuals may register between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on the Friday and Monday preceding the board meeting.