Joe believes that providing a quality education is the state's most important responsibility. He and his colleagues have worked to strengthen public schools while empowering families and communities. The House has also improved higher education under Joe's leadership.
Joe's successful efforts to improve education include:
Reducing excessive testing. Responding to overwhelming calls from parents and educators, the Legislature in 2013 reduced the number of end-of-course exams required for high school graduation from 15 to 5. Before the Legislature acted, Texas required many more end-of-course tests than other states. In 2015, the Legislature broadened the state's school accountability system so that other indicators, in addition to test scores, would be used to determine a school's rating.
Strengthening career readiness. Too often, students who are not headed to four-year universities leave high school with little preparation for career success. The House changed high school graduation requirements in order to better address the individual needs of all students and better prepare those who aren't headed to four-year schools for success at two-year colleges and in the workforce. Schools are now working with students to identify and explore their educational and career interests in high school, which makes school more relevant to all students and gives them a clearer path to productive careers.
Expanding school choice. Under Joe's leadership, the House approved a sizable expansion of charter schools, giving parents more choice when deciding where to send their children to school. In 2015, the House also passed legislation that calls for the state to step in sooner to reform repeatedly failing schools. And the House passed legislation to rate schools on an A-F scale in order to give parents and communities a clearer sense of how a school is performing.
Improving higher education. During Joe's time as Speaker, the House has put an emphasis on building more Tier One universities by investing in emerging schools like the University of Texas at San Antonio. In 2015, the House provided funding for needed new facilities at UTSA, Texas A&M-San Antonio and at the UT Health Sciences Center-San Antonio. In addition, the Legislature has consistently invested in the TEXAS Grants scholarship program, and eliminated inefficiencies in other scholarship programs, in order to make college more accessible and affordable.