CORRECTION - 87th Legislature Updates

Texas Education Agency

August, 2021

Texas Capitol in Austin, Texas. Photo by L. J. Gouveia.

Legislative Updates from the 87th Session

This newsletter is intended to replace the newsletter released on July 28th, 2021. Changes occurred in the At-Risk Students section and Mental and Behavioral Health section. 

The 87th Texas Legislature responded to the needs of Texas students who are highly mobile or at-risk. There were also many improvements to education-related mental and behavioral health state laws. The Texas Regular 87th Session commenced on January 12, 2021.The purpose of this newsletter is to highlight some key changes and relevant updates that impact these student groups and programs. These laws will go into effect in the upcoming 2021-22 school year. Staying informed of legislative changes is imperative so that school leaders can serve students in accordance with the updated state law requirements and related guidance. 

Upcoming Newsletters

Each program in the Highly Mobile and At-Risk division releases newsletters every two months. Subscribe to all of the HM&AR newsletters to receive more in-depth updates on these student programs:

  • Military-Connected Students
  • Texas Education for Homeless Children and Youth
  • Foster Care and Student Success
  • Mental and Behavioral Health


Subscribe to the Highly Mobile and At-Risk newsletter.

Subscribe to the English Learner Support newsletter via the EL web portal. 

Upcoming Events

Highly Mobile and At-Risk Webinars

Advancing Behavioral Health Collaboration to Support Student Success Summit

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Military-Connected Students

State Advisory Council (MIC3)

House Bill 3932 authorized the creation of the State Advisory Council on Educational Opportunity for Military Children, which will increase coordination among state agencies, school districts, and military installations concerning the state’s participation in and compliance with the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children. Eleven or more members will be added to the council to oversee the Interstate Compact and participate in the Military Interstate Children's Compact Commission (MIC3). The council may develop policy concerning operations and procedures of the Interstate Compact within the state. Further, the council will help increase knowledge of the Interstate Compact requirements for LEAs, thereby increasing educational supports for military-connected students.

Enrollment in Texas University School Districts 

House Bill 4124 allows school districts operated by Texas universities to prioritize military-connected students for enrollment or on waitlists for enrollment. These school districts may also enroll and receive funding for a student who does not technically reside in the state (due to a military deployment or transfer) if the student is a dependent of a member of the US military and has previously been enrolled in school in Texas.

LEAs should note that “dependent of a member of the US military” is not synonymous with “military-connected student,” a term that encompasses dependents of veterans and members killed in the line of duty (TEC § 25.006(d)).

Sign up for our Military-Connected Students newsletter to stay updated! 

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Texas Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program (TEHCY)

Increased Funding

House Bill 1525 updated the state compensatory education funding allotment to include more funds for students experiencing homelessness. The change entitles school districts to multiply the basic allotment by the highest weight (0.275) for each homeless student.

Sign up for our McKinney-Vento newsletter to stay updated!

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Foster Care and Student Success

Pre-K Eligibility for Students in Foster Care

House Bill 725 expands free Pre-K eligibility for students from other state foster care systems who reside in Texas. This applies to students who are currently in or were ever in another state’s foster care system. This change makes it so that all student’s currently or formerly in foster care (regardless of the state where the child was in foster care) are eligible for pre-k in Texas.

Sign up for our Foster Care newsletter to stay updated!



At-Risk Students

Accelerated Instruction

HB 4545 sets the minimum requirements for all students who did not perform satisfactorily to receive supplemental accelerated instruction so they may achieve satisfactory performance in the applicable subject and grade level. These changes can be supported through local funds, state compensatory education funds, Title funds, ESSER Funds (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds) or through Texas Covid Learning Acceleration Supports (TCLAS), if additional resources are needed. Highly mobile and at-risk students will benefit greatly from these academic supports that will foster student engagement and learning.

  • Students cannot be retained in grades 5 & 8 for not meeting STAAR requirements. There is only one reading and math assessment opportunity.
  • Accelerated Learning Committees must be in place for students who did not perform satisfactorily on the STAAR reading and/or math assessments for grades 3,5, 8. The Accelerated Learning Committee will develop an Accelerated Learning Plan in collaboration with the principal/designee, parent/guardian, and the teacher of the subject of an assessment in which the student failed to pass.
  • When a student does not pass a STAAR assessment (any subject) in grades 3 – 8 or EOC, the school district must provide supplemental accelerated instruction/tutoring in the failed subject area during the following school year.
  • The supplemental instruction may be embedded during the school day, or occur before or after school, for a minimum of 30 hours per subject area in which the student did not pass.
  • Small group instruction must be provided in a ratio of 1 instructor/tutor per 3 students, unless the parents/guardians of the students in the group provide consent for a larger ratio.

Supplemental instruction can benefit at-risk students by providing personalized learning. Additionally, relationship building with a caring adult enhances the social-emotional development and academic progress of at-risk students. Please make sure you are tracking your at-risk students' assessment results to ensure that they are benefiting from all supports that are available due to HB 4545.

Visit the TEA Accelerated Learning Resources page for more information.

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Child Abuse and Human Trafficking Prevention

DNA Kits

Senate Bill 2158 requires the Texas Education Agency to provide inkless, in-home, DNA identification kits to all school districts and open-enrollment charter schools, to be distributed by the LEA to the parent or legal guardian (upon request) for Kindergarteners to middle school students. The DNA kits allow families to work closely with law enforcement and appropriate officials to locate their child if the child becomes missing or their whereabouts are unknown. TEA will be providing further guidance on the process for distributing DNA kits and making them available for LEAs to distribute to families.

Warning Signs for Criminal Penalties

Senate Bill 1831, also known as the Julia Wells act, requires all public and private schools to post warning signs about offenses and penalties relating to human trafficking of minors on and around school premises. The Texas Education Agency and the Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force will work together to develop rules pertaining to the warning signs information, placement, and distribution of posters that will be used for this purpose.

Adjustments to Mandatory Reporting Training

Senate Bill 1267 amends aspects of the Child Abuse and Mandatory Reporting training requirements, concerning frequency of training and tracking of employee participation. More information from TEA will be forthcoming.

For more information, please email:


Mental and Behavioral Health

Suicide Prevention

Senate Bill 279 requires that each student identification card issued by a public school to a student in grade six and higher must have printed on the card the contact information for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK) (8255), the Crisis Text Line (Text TX To 741741) and may have printed on the card information for a local suicide prevention hotline, if available. Both resources provide free 24/7 confidential crisis counseling and emotional support on any topic for people in distress. LEAs should confirm the accurate contact information for these suicide prevention resource numbers. This requirement is in effect immediately.

5th Annual Advancing Behavioral Health Collaboration (ABC) Summit: Wellness and Resiliency in Education

Join us for the 5th Annual Advancing Behavioral Health Collaboration (ABC) Summit:  Wellness and Resiliency in Education. This year, the ABC Summit will be convened virtually in September for five Thursdays from 10:00 AM- 1:00 PM to maximize your opportunity to participate. The five sessions will be hosted by state agency partners who will promote leadership for school mental health, introduce new state resources and tools for schools, provide examples of LEA partnerships and program strategies, and promote wellness and resiliency in education. Participation is encouraged for education service centers, local education agencies, state agencies and community organizations who desire to partner and support student mental health in Texas.

Registration is required, and it is free. Please join us! Register here.

The ABC Summit is sponsored through interagency collaboration between TEA and Project AWARE Texas, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, the Mental Health Technology Transfer Center at the University of Texas at Austin, and the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium. 

Sign up for our Mental and Behavioral Health newsletter to stay updated! 

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