Office of House Bill AnalysisC.S.H.B. 1475
By: Kitchen
Public Education
Committee Report (Substituted)


While Texas has brought many computers into its primary and secondary
schools, classroom teachers have varying knowledge of how to use technology
in their classrooms.  Classroom use of computers remains relatively low
nationwide and only about one-third of all United States public school
teachers feel "well" or "very well" prepared to use computers or the
Internet in their teaching.  The 76th Legislature created the Master
Reading Teacher Grant Program to provide training and incentives for
teachers to improve student reading performance.  C.S.H.B. 1475 creates the
Master Technology Teacher Grant Program to provide similar training and
incentives for Texas educators to learn about integrating computers into
their classroom instruction. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking
authority is expressly delegated to the commissioner of education in
SECTION 1 (Section 21.411, Education Code) and to the State Board for
Educator Certification in SECTION 4 of this bill. 


C.S.H.B. 1475 amends the Education Code to require the commissioner of
education (commissioner) to establish a master technology teacher grant
program (program) to encourage teachers to become certified as master
technology teachers and to work with other teachers and students to
increase the use of technology in the classroom (Sec. 21.411).  The bill
requires the State Board for Educator Certification (board) to issue a
master technology teacher certificate (certificate) and sets forth the
eligibility requirements for teachers to receive the certificate (Sec.

C.S.H.B. 1475 requires the commissioner to make grants in the amount of
$5,000 from funds appropriated for that purpose to school districts to pay
stipends to selected certified master technology teachers.  The bill
requires the commissioner by rule to annually identify and rank in order of
highest need each high-need campus and to give preference to teachers who
teach at high-need campuses (Sec. 21.411). 

The bill authorizes a school district to apply to the commissioner for
grants to pay stipends to certified master technology teachers.  The bill
sets forth the criteria for evaluating and approving the applications. The
bill sets forth provisions regarding the distribution, funding, use, and
auditing of the grants (Sec. 21.411). 

The bill authorizes the commissioner to adopt other rules as necessary to
implement the program (Sec. 21.411).  The bill requires the board to
propose rules establishing requirements and prescribing an examination for
master technology teacher certification no later than September 1, 2003

The bill amends the Government Code to include stipends paid to teachers
through the program in the definition of "salary and wages" for the purpose
of calculating member contributions and benefits under the Teacher
Retirement System of Texas (Sec. 822.201). 


On passage, or if the Act does not receive the necessary vote, the Act
takes effect September 1, 2001. 


C.S.H.B. 1475 differs from the original by excluding open-enrollment
charter schools from the master technology teacher grant program (program).
The substitute sets forth additional requirements for the technology
instruction program and provides that a person must pass an examination to
receive a master technology teacher certificate (Sec. 21.0482).  The
substitute requires the commissioner of education to determine the method
of distributing state funds for the program if state funds are appropriated
but insufficient to fully fund a grant, rather than requiring each grant
and stipend to be reduced proportionately (Sec. 21.411).