HBA-BSM H.B. 946 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 946 By: Telford Public Education 7/9/2001 Enrolled BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Texas public schools provide an excellent opportunity to teach character education and civic responsibility to children and adolescents. The widespread implementation of character education programs may help reduce disciplinary problems, improve the learning environment, and promote student achievement without proselytizing or indoctrinating the students concerning any specific religious or political belief. To be effective, character education programs must incorporate ideas from the community. House Bill 946 authorizes and encourages school districts to implement character education programs after consulting with a committee consisting of educators, parents, and other community members. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. ANALYSIS House Bill 946 amends the Education Code to authorize school districts to establish a character education program in public schools that emphasizes positive character traits, uses integrated teaching strategies, and is age appropriate. The bill requires a district that decides to establish a character education program to consult with a character education program committee consisting of educators, parents, and other members of the community. The bill does not require or authorize proselytizing or indoctrinating students concerning any specific religious or political belief. The bill requires the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to maintain a list of character education programs that school districts have implemented. The bill requires TEA, based on data annually reported by districts, to designate each school that provides a character education program that meets specified criteria as a Character Plus School. The bill requires TEA to include the impact on student discipline, academic achievement, and other appropriate data in its comprehensive biennial report. H.B. 946 authorizes TEA to accept money from the federal government and private sources to use in assisting school districts in implementing character education programs that meet the provisions of this bill. EFFECTIVE DATE June 11, 2001. This Act applies beginning with the 2001-2002 school year.