*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Thank you, Dr. [Sheila] Maher [Assistant Superintendent, Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD] and thanks to your team at the District for their hard work on behalf of the young people of this area.
It's good to see our legislators here today, including Sen. West and Representatives McCall, Eissler and Shelton.
I also want to applaud the leadership team here at METSA. For those of you who don't follow education innovations, this is one of 38 T-STEM academies created since 2003 as part of the Texas High School Project.
Your program is a prime example of the innovative approaches we're taking here in Texas, to make sure our children are getting the best possible education, to prepare them for the best possible future.
When you boil it all down, that's what we're about here in Texas: preparing our young people to compete in the global economy, with an education system that is based on accountability, at every level, in every direction.
By that, I mean that we not only hold students accountable for their performance in the classroom, we also hold educators and administrators accountable for outcomes, in a genuine team effort.
Our overall goal is for young Texans, no matter what their economic status, to graduate from our high schools career- and college-ready, with the essential knowledge and learning skills, that will allow them to tackle what's next, and reduce the need for expensive remedial help.
Thanks to Sen. Shapiro and Representatives Rob Eissler & Mark Shelton, we have House Bill 3, a piece of legislation that moves Texas boldly forward in this direction.
I want you to know that this legislation didn't take shape in a vacuum.
Instead, a select committee traveled the state after the 2007 legislative session, talking to educators, parents and members of the community, getting their recommendations on how to improve the state's accountability system.
House Bill 3 makes Texas a leader in the effort to hold schools directly accountable, for ensuring our students graduate college and career-ready, with four years of math, science, social studies, and English on their transcript.
It also gives students more flexibility in choosing their other courses, so they can deepen their understanding of areas that interest them, enriching their education and future, and maybe even staying in school longer.
Some folks have expressed concern that this comes at the cost of dropping the statewide physical education requirement, but districts can still make that part of their recommended graduation plan, as they educate the whole student.
At the same time, this bill makes schools more accountable to parents by providing a means for them to access vital information on their children's progress.
It also makes districts more accountable to taxpayers by requiring them to post their budgets online, and directs the Comptroller to assess and rank districts based on their financial efficiency.
This legislation is a great example of what happens when we set out a clear goal, involve Texans in the planning, and trust leaders to craft a winning strategy.
Now it's time to execute that strategy on behalf of our students.
When they graduate college- and career-ready, they're on track to pursue their dreams in jobs that can feed a family, in a college that furthers their aspirations, or in service to their country.
They are ready to contribute to society, compete in the global economy and make the world a better place.
I am proud to sign this bill and continue moving Texas forward.
I would now like to introduce the Chairman of House Public Education Committee, Rep. Rob Eissler, who will share his thoughts on this important piece of legislation. Rob?
Thanks, Rob. You should be proud of what you and your peers in the Legislature have achieved on behalf of Texas students.
Now, I'd like to invite Education Commissioner Robert Scott to share his perspective on how this legislation will improve schools across Texas. Robert?
Now, there's nothing in this bill about penmanship, but I'll try to honor its spirit of pursuing excellence by making my signature readable.
Now, we would be happy to take questions from members of the working press here with us today about this important piece of legislation.