Across the Lawn Jan. 27, 2023

January 27, 2023  

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Raise Your Hand Texas has a front-row seat to the Capitol. From our vantage point, public education policy issues have never been more important, and this is why we must make every session a public education session.

The One Thing to Do

1. Keep Up with Committee Meetings

With Senate committees announced this week, and House committee memberships expected to be announced soon, it is important to know where to find their respective hearing schedules. Clicking on the Committees tab on the Capitol’s website provides a variety of ways to find information on upcoming meetings. This page includes links categorizing committee meetings by date, committee, and upcoming meetings for House, Senate, and Joint committees.

Knowing when committees are meeting will keep you informed on when public education bills will be debated. Official hearing notices will state rules and requirements for any invited and public testimony.

Five Things to Know:

1. Charles Butt Foundation Releases Poll

The Charles Butt Foundation released The 2023 Texas Education Poll on Tuesday. The annual poll surveys Texans on their attitudes toward public education. The poll once again shows strong support for public schools, with 89% of parents reporting they are satisfied with their child’s education; a rate higher than the national average.

An overwhelming majority of Texans support increased funding for public school priorities, including securing higher pay for teachers, expanding career and technical training, and assisting students with mental and physical health needs.

To learn more, read the full report of The 2023 Texas Education Poll: Strong Support, Clear Challenges.

2. Lt. Gov. Releases List of Committee Chairs and Members

On Monday, the lieutenant governor released his appointments of committee chairs and memberships for the 88th Legislative Session.

Important Senate committees that address public education issues are the Senate Education and the Senate Finance. The Senate Committee on Education will be chaired by Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe), with Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) serving as vice-chair. For the Senate Committee on Finance, Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) will serve as chair with Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen) as vice-chair.

In a change from the last legislative session, the Senate Committee on Higher Education is now a subcommittee under the Senate Committee on Education. The full list of Senate committee assignments are available on the Texas Senate website. Committees in the House of Representatives are expected to be announced in February.

3. TEA Releases School Report Cards

The Texas Education Agency released the 2021-22 School Report Cards for public schools in Texas. School Report Cards combine A-F accountability ratings, data from the Texas Academic Performance Reports, and financial information to give an overview of individual school performance.

Campuses can earn a score of A, B, C, or not rated. Members of the public can access data on individual schools as well as generate reports for every campus in a district.

4. Raise Your Hand Texas Presents to Legislative Staffers

Raise Your Hand Texas staff members gathered at the Capitol on Monday, Jan. 23 to present to a full room of legislative staffers on public education issues and outline our policy priorities for the 88th Legislative Session. RYHT staff covered a wide variety of topics including increasing school funding, bolstering the teacher workforce, and the importance of rejecting vouchers in our state.

Learn more about our priorities by reading Raise Your Hand’s full legislative agenda for the 88th Legislative Session.

5. Upcoming Legislative Hearings

The Senate Committee on Finance will begin hearings on SB 1, the state budget, on Monday, Jan. 30 at 10:00 a.m. The committee is set to hear issues related to the Texas Education Agency and Teacher Retirement System on Monday, Feb. 6 at 10:00 a.m.

SB 1 contains two new provisions related to school funding: Rider 81 provides $15 billion for school property tax relief, and Rider 82 states it is the intent of the Legislature to provide increased compensation and benefits for classroom teachers at school districts and open-enrollment charter schools, including, but not limited to, additional funding for the Teacher Incentive Allotment. There is no specified amount detailed for this provision.

Tags: 88th Legislature

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