Representative Patterson Pledges to Refile Virtual School Network Legislation

March 17, 2020

Governor Greg Abbott, in partnership with local officials, has taken swift and appropriate action to keep Texas students and teachers safe. With nearly half of Texas school districts now closed for Coronavirus containment, we are faced with finding alternatives to in-person instruction for an extended period of time.

Today, parents across Texas and right here in Frisco ISD are entering a new and unprecedented partnership with teachers. This new partnership comes with challenges; challenges which illustrate the need for the innovative flexibility which online learning can provide. More choices for parents, teachers and administrators creates greater opportunities for Texas children.

Last session, in partnership with Little Elm ISD Superintendent Daniel Gallagher, I filed HB 1921, which would have lifted the 2013 moratorium on full-time online programming for Texas students and removed the three online classroom enrollment limit. Currently, there are only six Virtual School Network programs allowed in the state of Texas, causing many districts to lose student population and funding to one of these six other districts.

Had districts already been given the ability to expand online educational programming to students, they may have been in a better position to roll out eLearning during this time of crisis.

Just as we did after Hurricane Harvey, next session we will assuredly act on items we’ve learned as a result of this public health crisis. Though it’s too early to know exactly what that will entail, I pledge to continue fighting for our schools to have more options for online courses by refiling this legislation next session when the Texas House returns for the 87th Legislative Session.