AUSTIN -- Drawing together two of the most contentious issues in state policy -- firearms and kids -- Texas lawmakers debated a $9.3 million plan Tuesday to train teachers for classroom gunfights.They also tackled another pair of hot-button issues: standardized testing requirements for high school graduation and the use of student IDs embedded with electronic tracking chips.As proposed by state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, chairman of the Education Committee, the firearms training bill would apply to charter schools as well as public schools that do not already employ armed guards. It would pay for instruction on how to respond to an armed attack. Two employees at each school could take the class.Several proposals to extend the reach of guns in schools have gained traction in the Legislature, which opened its session a month after 20 schoolchildren were killed in a mass shooting in Connecticut. The National Rifle Association has called for an armed guard in every school in America.The Texas Department of Public Safety would oversee the 16 hours of instruction. Department Director Steven McCraw told lawmakers the proposed class would induct teachers who are already certified to carry concealed weapons, teaching them to first conceal children during an attack and then return fire.Finally, McCraw said, teachers would learn "when the police do arrive, put the gun away, get your hands in the air."For Democrats, who have been seeking ways to restore $5.4 billion in cuts to public education funding approved by the Legislature in 2011, the proposal presented a chance to make a point."We're prepared to spend $9.3 million on teaching people how to shoot a gun," said state Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas. Noting a shortfall in funds for remedial education programs, he said, "What's more important?"Patrick retorted, "Saving the life of a student in a school where there's a shooter with an assault weapon."State Sen. Eddie Lucio, D-Brownsville,proposed amending the bill by requiring that private donations pay for the training."I think we'll have a lot of money contributed," he said.Patrick rejected that, saying, "It's not acceptable to say the state is not going to put up any money to protect our children in our schools."The committee left the bill pending, with plans to study the cost.Also Tuesday, Patrick's committee voted to refer to the full Senate a bill he is sponsoring that would reduce the number of standardized tests Texas students must pass to graduate from high school from the current 15 to five.The bill would require high school students to pass exams in English I and II as well as Algebra I, biology and U.S. history.Current law requires many students to take and pass 15 exams in core subjects to earn a high school diploma. But that has generated a storm of criticism from students, parents, teachers and school administrators who worry about "overtesting" the state's young people.Meanwhile, the House Public Education Committee heard details on a bill by influential state Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, that would allow voluntary use of student ID badges embedded with locator chips -- but wouldn't let school districts require them."Some would argue, 'Are we dehumanizing our children and treating them more like the goods we move on our highways?'" Kolkhorst pointed out to the committee, noting that similar tracking chips are used on such commodities as cattle.Kolkhorst has introduced unsuccessful proposals since 2005 to limit or outright ban the use of chips in schools.But state funding for schools is based on daily attendance, and some districts say the technology helps them provide the most accurate count of their students. Supporters also say chips help ensure kids' safety.Kolkhorst argued, though, that parents should be allowed to choose whether their kids use them."This is just a mom issue for me," she said.