Monday, May 15, 2017

#TXLEGE: HB 17, adding university streamline university bureaucracy?!?

"If you see the oppression of the poor, and the violent perversion of justice and righteousness in a province, do not marvel at the matter; for high official watches over high official, and higher officials are over them."
Ecclesiastes 5:8

[Note: The Higher Ed. committee hearing can be viewed here. HB 17 is the first bill considered.  Our testimony is at the two minute mark.]

Read this bill caption and consider whether anything good can come from this:
Relating to the establishment of the Texas Higher Education Innovation Accelerator for public institutions of higher education.
We signed in against this hot mess of a bill when it was originally considered in the House.  We were disappointed (but not surprised) when it passed the house in early May.  Today it got a hearing in the Senate Higher Ed committee...and that makes us nervous.

The bill's proponents say that it's a workaround from the current bureaucracy, but all the does is add new bureaucracy cloaked in tech industry buzzwords; just read Section 5 of the bill:
Sec. 60.005.  INNOVATION PLAN. (a)  To participate in the
accelerator, an eligible institution shall:
             (1)  submit a letter of intent to participate to the
commissioner; and
             (2)  develop and submit an innovation plan to the
institution's governing board as provided by this section. 
       (b)  An innovation plan must:
             (1)  summarize the proposed educational programs to be
offered under the accelerator, including:
                   (A)  each program's design, delivery methods, and
implementation plan; and
                   (B)  the anticipated number and demographics of
students to be served by each program;
             (2)  describe in detail the modifications to
traditional program structures necessary to implement the proposed
educational programs, such as changes to institutional calendars,
course schedules or structures, faculty workload, credit hours, or
other program requirements;
             (3)  identify how the proposed educational programs
align with specific state and institutional goals;
             (4)  include, to the extent practical, data regarding
educational programs offered at other institutions of higher
education that are similar to each proposed educational program,
                   (A)  student enrollment and demographics;
                   (B)  student academic success, including the
average time for a student enrolled in the program to complete a
certificate or degree; and
                   (C)  career placement data;
             (5)  provide for the assessment of student academic
success and ongoing program evaluation and improvement;
             (6)  commit the institution to participation in regular
meetings of the participating institutions and to the research and
evaluation efforts of the accelerator;
             (7)  include a plan for operations, staffing,
oversight, and sources of funding for the innovation plan; and
             (8)  identify any state statutes or rules that inhibit
the goals of the innovation plan and from which the institution
should be exempted on adoption of the plan, subject to Section
60.006, and state how the identified statutes or rules inhibit the
goals of the plan and how an exemption from those statutes or rules
will advance state and institutional educational goals.
       (c)  In addition to the state statutes or rules identified
under Subsection (b)(8), the institution may also identify other
state statutes or rules that inhibit the goals of the innovation
plan but from which the institution is not seeking an exemption.
       (d)  An innovation plan may include one or more departments
or certificate or degree programs.
       (e)  If an eligible institution's governing board approves
an innovation plan developed under this section, the institution
             (1)  submit a copy of the plan to the commissioner; and
             (2)  post the plan on the institution's Internet
       (f)  An eligible institution may implement one or more
innovation plans that comply with this section.
We testified and told the committee that we thought this bill would accomplish nothing but adding more bureaucracy, and in that spirit we think the section of the bill quoted above speaks for itself.

But the chairman of the committee is carrying this bill, which means it has a real chance of passing.

Bottom Line: If the Senate kills this bill, they would be doing the state of Texas a favor.


Chairman Kel Seliger: (512) 463-0131
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick: (512) 463-5342



  1. RE: [Note: The Higher Ed. committee hearing can be viewed here. HB 17 is the first bill considered. Our testimony is at the two minute mark.]

    Can't find the link...


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