Creating systemic impact for students requires work beyond Dallas County. The Commit Partnership has a team of in-house staff dedicated to advocating for student-focused public policy on local school boards and throughout the state, including inside the Texas Capitol.
The Commit Partnership, lead by the Best in Class coalition, is focused on increasing access to well-prepared, effective, and diverse educators so that a greater proportion of our region’s students are on track for college and career success.
The group’s efforts are focused on four strategic parts of an educator’s pathway: attracting, preparing, developing, and retaining effective educators. Our guiding advocacy principles include attracting a greater number of talented and diverse teachers and school leaders, ensuring our educator preparation programs are effectively preparing our future teachers and school leaders to meet the needs of our students, supporting and encouraging ongoing learning and development for teachers and school leaders, and increasing retention of our most promising and effective educators.
This session, Commit is supporting legislation that aligns with its guiding advocacy principles to ensure every Texas student has access to a highly effective teacher:
- Optional Funding for School District Strategic Compensation Strategies
Teachers are the single most impactful in-school factor in determining student achievement. Yet, nearly every Texas school district compensates teachers based on seniority, regardless of classroom effectiveness. As a result, school districts lack a differentiated breakdown of the effectiveness of their educators, and impactful teachers are not incentivized to teach in challenging, high-needs campuses where they are needed most.
Commit is supporting a recommendation made by the Texas Commission on Public School Finance to provide optional funding for school districts who develop and implement a multiple-measure evaluation system to better compensate their more effective teachers, and incentivize those teachers to choose to teach the students who need them the most. The evaluation system may be locally developed subject to TEA approval or districts may choose to implement a system designed by TEA.
- Training for School Personnel on Trauma and Toxic Stress Informed Practices
Texas students are at great risk of experiencing trauma and toxic stressors. Whether from natural disasters, troubling events, or the everyday stress of poverty that 60% of Texas students endure, too many students experience trauma that causes mental health and behavioral challenges, hampering their academic success.
Evidence shows trauma-informed instructional practices can improve outcomes among students who are experiencing or have experienced trauma and toxic stress. Despite the critical importance of trauma-informed practices, Texas is one of just four states in the country to not require pre-certification training in such practices for school teachers.
Commit is supporting House Bill 1069, a comprehensive student mental health bill, by Chairman Four Price The legislation will, in part:
- Require school district improvement plans to integrate best practices for trauma-informed care through positive behavior interventions and supports
- Include evidence-based training on trauma- and grief-informed strategies as part of teacher, principal, and counselor continuing professional education requirements at least once every five years
- Help school personnel recognize the signs of trauma and toxic stress, including how trauma affects student learning and behavior
- Require pre-certification training in mental health for teachers
- Increase access to mental health resources for students and families through referrals to community providers