Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 1627
By: Grusendorf
Public Education


Texas suffers from a widely recognized teacher shortage, which is
especially acute in the areas of math and science.  Teachers could be
recruited and the performance of Texas students on assessment exams could
be improved with increased resources for mathematics instruction and
continuing education of mathematics teachers.  House Bill 1627 creates
mathematics training programs for teachers, tutoring programs for students,
and a grant program for master mathematics teachers. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking
authority is expressly delegated to the commissioner of education in
SECTION 2 (Section 21.411, Education Code) and SECTION 5 (Sec. 29.087,
Education Code) of this bill and to the State Board for Educator
Certification in SECTION 7 of this bill. 


House Bill 1627 amends the Education Code to require the State Board for
Educator Certification to establish a master mathematics teacher
certificate (certificate) and sets forth eligibility requirements for a
teacher to receive a certificate (Sec. 21.0482). 

The bill requires the commissioner of education (commissioner) to establish
a master mathematics teacher grant program to encourage teachers to become
certified as master mathematics teachers and to work with students and
other teachers to improve student mathematics performance.  From funds
appropriated for that purpose, the commissioner is required to make grants,
in the amount of $5,000, to school districts to pay stipends to selected
certified master mathematics teachers who teach at high-need campuses.  The
bill requires the commissioner, by rule, to annually identify and rank in
order of greatest need each high-need campus.   

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

The bill requires the commissioner to develop and make available training
material and resources for school districts to use in assisting mathematics
teachers in developing expertise in teaching mathematics (Sec. 21.454). 

The bill requires the commissioner to develop and make available
professional development institutes for teachers who provide instruction in
mathematics to students at the fifth through eighth grade levels.  The bill
sets forth provisions relating to the curriculum of the institutes,
criteria for the selection of teachers to attend the institute, and the
payment of stipends to teachers who complete an institute (Sec. 21.455). 

The bill requires the commissioner to develop and make available assessment
instruments that a school  district may use to diagnose student mathematics
skills (Sec. 28.007). 

The bill authorizes a school district to provide an intensive after-school
or summer program to provide mathematics instruction to students who are
performing poorly in mathematics.  The bill sets forth provisions
regulating the manner in which a district must administer such a program.
The bill requires the commissioner to by rule establish procedures
regarding the application of school districts for funding, adopt guidelines
for the selection of districts to receive funding, require the
administration of assessment exams by the districts, and disseminate
information regarding successful instructional methods.  The bill provides
that an afterschool or summer program shall be paid with funds appropriated
for that purpose (Sec. 29.087). 

The bill amends the Government Code to include stipends issued 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).   

The State Board for Educator Certification shall propose rules establishing
requirements and prescribing an examination for master mathematics teacher
certification by January 1, 2003 (SECTION 7). 


September 1, 2001.