- Associated Press - Monday, June 1, 2015

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, the head of the powerful House Public Education Committee, is retiring.

A 68-year-old veterinarian from Killeen, Aycock led an overhaul of state academic curriculums in 2013, cutting the number of standardized tests high school students must pass to graduate from 15 to five. He also oversaw an expansion of charter schools.

This session, Aycock proposed a sweeping redesign of Texas’ school finance system, even as a judge ruling declaring it unconstitutional was appealed to the Texas Supreme Court. That effort stalled in the Senate, which instead pushed school vouchers.

Aycock wept Monday while announcing, “I will not return.”

That came a day after Houston Democratic Rep. Sylvester Turner also cried during a rousing floor farewell speech. First elected in 1988, Turner is running for Houston mayor.

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