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Summary: Under current law, the adult education and literacy programs are governed by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). The purposes of these programs are to eliminate illiteracy in Texas and develop a skilled workforce. According to the Sunset Commission, "Individuals who are at least 16 years old and not enrolled in school are eligible for adult education services if they have not earned a high school diploma or its equivalent, or are unable to speak, read, or write English" (p. 21, Sunset Commission Staff Report Texas Education Agency: Issue 2 Misplaced at TEA, Texas Lacks Clear Leadership on Adult Education, Threatening the State's Ability to Meet Future Workforce Demands).
HB 362 is in response to the Sunset Advisory Commission's recommendations to transfer the programs from the TEA to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) in an effort to provide better oversight, transparency, and increase competition in an effort to meet objectives in preparing a skilled workforce. The TWC's purpose remains "...to promote and support an effective workforce system that offers employers, individuals and communities the opportunity to achieve and sustain prosperity".
Analysis: According to the Sunset Advisory Commission's recommendation to transfer the adult and literacy programs from the TEA to the TWC due to a lack in transparency and oversight, this transfer will provide efficiency in administering the programs as well as effectiveness in reaching the objectives of preparing an educated workforce. Furthermore, the TWC's mission is more compatible with adequately training an adult workforce. TWC is the proper place to position these programs. Having the appropriate provide adequate oversight of these programs will make government more efficient and transparent. We advise the Legislature to vote for HB 362.