Investing in the future of Texas: Education and workforce

Texas 2036 served as a trusted, data-driven resource for the 88th Legislature on issues that matter most for the future of the state. Here’s a look at how we supported education and workforce legislation.

Key Accomplishments: 88th Legislature

From pioneering reforms in community college finance to the strategic expansion of apprenticeship programs and the further alignment of education-to-workforce outcomes, the 88th Legislature made a tangible commitment to the future of Texas.

Texas 2036 has been an instrumental partner in this endeavor, leveraging data-driven, evidence-based policies to support accountability, assessment and transparent systems. These efforts, combined with the billions of dollars in generational investments in education and workforce issues have culminated in a dozen landmark achievements this session. Each one serves as a stepping stone in Texas’ journey towards every Texan having the opportunity to earn a family-sustaining wage.

Historic Budget: Generational Investments

  • $691 million for community college finance reform
  • $500 million for high-quality curriculum
  • $3 billion for a new higher education endowment called the Texas University Fund
Reforming Community College Finance:

This $691 million investment places Texas at the forefront of national higher education reform by prioritizing proven value in the workforce for community college credential offerings. Combined with significant incentives for such offerings, more Texans will earn the credentials needed for good-paying, in-demand jobs. 

House Bill 8 Rep. Vandeaver (R) / Sen. Creighton (R)

Expanding High-Quality Curriculum:

High-quality instructional materials have a high return-on-investment in improving student outcomes, even more so than lowering class size. A $500 million investment offers these materials to schools and teachers, assisting new teachers with lesson planning while ensuring more rigorous, grade-level instruction in our classrooms.

House Bill 1605 Rep. Buckley (R) / Sen. Creighton (R)

Defending Accountability and Assessments:

Assessment and accountability remain primary tools for ensuring that students of all races, incomes and zip codes have equitable access to a high-quality education. Families, school leaders and policymakers deserve strong assessment and accountability systems that prioritize student outcomes, readiness and transparency.

No bills undermining this system have reached the Governor.

Notable Education & Workforce Legislation

Advanced Math Pathways: Increases enrollment in high-level math courses by requiring districts to offer advanced math classes for high-achieving middle school students, regardless of their background or geographic location. SB 2124: Sen. Creighton (R) / Rep. Howard (D)

High-Quality Tutoring: Ensures high-quality tutoring requirements remain in place for Texas students, facilitating Texas’ continued recovery from the pandemic’s impact on student outcomes. HB 1416: Rep. K. Bell (R) / Sen. Paxton (R)

College, Career, and Military Readiness Study: Requires TEA to study post-secondary outcomes of students and how they correlate to student programming in high school, allowing the state to better inform its course and program offerings. HB 1: Rep. Bonnen (R) / Sen. Huffman (R)

Rural Pathways Excellence Partnership: Expands options for rural school districts to provide college and career pathways that lead to post-secondary success and earning a family-sustaining wage in their hometown. HB 2209: Rep. Lozano (R) / Sen. Hinojosa (D)

Workforce Data Modernization: Provides the state with data needed to ensure taxpayer-funded workforce development programs, including those that serve our veterans, are delivering a return-on-investment to Texans. HB 1703: Rep. Ordaz (D) / Sen. Blanco (D)

Apprenticeship Reporting: Establishes data and analysis needed to expand apprenticeships in emerging and high-demand industries. HB 4451: Rep. Bhojani (D) / Sen. Flores (R)

Workforce Development Funding: Creates the Lone Star Workforce of the Future Fund with $5 million to provide Texans with the skills needed to earn a job with a family-sustaining wage. HB 1755: Rep. Button (R) / Sen. Alvarado (D)

Adult Student Recovery: Provides adult students an opportunity to concurrently earn a high school diploma and a workforce-aligned postsecondary credential. SB 2139: Sen. Parker (R) / Rep. Longoria (D)

Apprenticeship Funding Coordination: Streamlines and eliminates administrative barriers for apprenticeship and other work-based learning providers to increase the availability of such programs throughout Texas. HB 1: Rep. Bonnen (R) / Sen. Huffman (R)

These bills supported by Texas 2036 have been sent to the Governor pending review and potential signature during the veto period, which lasts until June 18, 2023.