Under a bill signed by Gov. Rick Perry on June 19, Texas school districts will be able to tap state textbook money for buying laptop computers or other technology needed to access electronic teaching materials, reports the Austin American-Statesman. State Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, the sponsor of House Bill 4294, said the objective was to give school districts the flexibility they need to update how students get their lessons. But some members of the State Board of Education had strongly objected to the bill, because they said it diminished the board’s authority and turned it over to the Education Commissioner. They launched a vigorous campaign calling for a veto. Bill Hammond, president of the Texas Association of Business, saw it differently. "Schools need access to every resource and tool available to ensure they can reach and inspire Texas students because if our children aren’t prepared to be a vital part of a 21st century Texas, we will all suffer the consequences," Hammond said in a news release. In a concession to the bill’s critics, Perry ordered that the board members have an active role in the review of digital content, including the opportunity to weigh in before the Education Commissioner approves an electronic textbook…

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