Across the Lawn

February 16, 2022 |

Raise Your Hand Texas Monthly Update | Wednesday, February 16, 2022

The FOUR Things to Know and ONE Thing to Do

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:

I support Public education and I vote.
1. Research Candidates and Vote in the Texas Primary Elections

Early voting began February 14 and runs through February 25 for Texas primary elections. Take time to research your candidates and cast your ballot now or on election day, March 1. Raise Your Hand has several resources to help you be an informed public education voter. You can find information on polling locations, hours, and other voting locations here.  Check and see if one of our upcoming For the Future candidate forums is happening in your region. Finally, learn more about ‘who does what’ in public education with Texas Educators Vote’s new tool that breaks down how education shows up on your ballot by position and by issue. (Raise Your Hand is a member of Texas Educators Vote.) Thank you for taking the time to support public education by becoming an informed voter.

Four Things to Know:

1. Sixty-eight percent (68%) of Texas Teachers Have Seriously Considered Leaving Their Position in the Past Year

A 2021 Charles Butt Foundation survey of Texas public school teachers found that 68 percent of teachers have considered leaving their position over the last year, a ten percent increase from the year before.

Texas was having a difficult time attracting and retaining teachers prior to COVID-19, including key areas such as bilingual education, but the problem seems to be getting worse. As the poll reveals, high levels of work-related stress, feeling undervalued, and being underpaid are the primary reasons teachers consider leaving the field.

The future success of our state is linked to our ability to recruit and retain effective teachers. It will be up to our local communities and state leaders to develop new policies that help attract, prepare, and retain our teachers.

2. Measure What Matters Assessment and Accountability Conference Resources

On January 18, 2022,  Raise Your Hand Texas gathered with more than 130 in-person and 250 online attendees to discuss our state’s assessment and accountability policies. The Measure What Matters Assessment and Accountability Conference  included presentations by the Texas Education Agency’s Tyson Kane on the redesign of the STAAR and John Tanner from bravEd on accountability frameworks that put parents and students at the center. All presentations and videos from the conference can be viewed here.

3. Texas Commission on Virtual Education to Meet February 23

The 13 member Commission on Virtual Education was established last legislative session under HB 3643 by Rep. King to develop and make recommendations regarding the delivery and funding of virtual education in Texas public schools. The Commission currently has five meetings scheduled to review the past and current context of virtual education in Texas, as well as explore virtual education nationwide.

SB 15 by Sen. Taylor, passed during the first called special session last year, currently allows school districts and charter schools to establish full-time virtual learning programs and generate state funding if certain criteria is met. This state law will end after the 2022-23 school year if no action is taken next legislative session.

Raise Your Hand Texas believes our state can and should lead efforts to better utilize technology that provides the best educational opportunities for our students. But we should do so thoughtfully, ensuring the delivery of a high-quality educational experience for all students throughout our state, school districts, or any other providers or vendors.

4. Charles Butt Foundation Releases Annual Poll: Connected Through Our Schools

Quality public opinion research is essential when the loudest voices and news headlines don’t necessarily reflect the experience of everyday Texans. The 2022 Charles Butt Foundation Poll surveyed 1,154 Texans about public education. The findings tell a story we don’t always hear about our public schools, yet they reflect a representative sample of all geographic areas, ideologies, and demographics of this great state.

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