Across the Lawn

May 20, 2022 |

Raise Your Hand Texas Monthly Update | Friday, May 20, 2022

The FIVE 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:

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Across the Lawn: The Texas Teacher Workforce Challenge

The Texas Teacher Workforce Challenge, the second installment of our Across the Lawn event series, is dedicated to teacher workforce issues. The event will feature research conducted by the University of Houston College of Education and will highlight the challenges facing how Texas recruits, develops, and retains teachers.

0%Join our conversation at 9:00 a.m. on May 26 to learn more about the Texas teacher workforce through a presentation with reflections from the field by Dr. Catherine Horn from the University of Houston, followed by a moderated panel discussion. Joining Dr. Horn for the discussion will be Thea Ulrich-Lewis, director of Raising Texas Teachers, Allison Ponce, a dual language education curriculum specialist for Leander ISD, and JoLisa Hoover and Bob Popinski from Raise Your Hand Texas.

Five Things to Know:

1. Gov. Abbott Expresses Clear Support for Voucher Program in Texas

Earlier this month at an event in San Antonio, Gov. Greg Abbott gave support for a school voucher program. He said parents should have the choice to send their child to a public, charter, or private school “with state funding following the student.”

Raise Your Hand Texas believes the evidence is clear: 0%vouchers do not deliver improved outcomes or educational innovation. Vouchers reduce equitable access to educational opportunity, weaken rights for students with disabilities, and expose taxpayers to fraud. Our public tax dollars should continue to fund the only education system that serves all students, responds to democratically-elected local officials, and meets the needs of students regardless of disability or disadvantage.

For more information, visit our page that pleads 33.33%the case against school vouchers.

2. Senate Finance Hearing: Property Tax Relief and Tax Exemptions

The Senate Finance Committee will meet 0%Monday, May 23, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. to hear invited and public testimony on the following interim charges:

Property Tax Relief: Examine and recommend ways to reduce Texans’ property tax burden. Review and report on proposals to use or dedicate state revenues in excess of the state spending limit to eliminate the school district maintenance and operations property tax.

Tax Exemptions: Examine Texans’ current tax exemptions and report on whether adjustments are merited because of inflation or any other factors.

3. Senate Education Hearing: Teacher Shortage, School Funding, and Accelerated Instruction

The Senate Education Committee will meet 0%Tuesday, May 24, 2022 at 9:00 a.m. to hear invited and public testimony on the following interim charges:

COVID-19 Pandemic Impact on Educator Talent Pipeline: Examine the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the public school educator talent pipeline, staffing patterns and practices, and declining student enrollment and attendance. Review any policies and regulatory actions that prevent students from receiving instruction from a highly effective teacher. Monitor the impact of both the Teacher Incentive Allotment and non-administrator compensation increases directed under House Bill 3 (86th Legislature), as well as the teacher pay raises implemented in 2019. Explore innovative models to improve recruitment and make recommendations to maintain a strong educator workforce pipeline, while adapting resilient school strategies to meet emergent demands in public education.

Monitoring: Make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, or complete implementation of the following: House Bill 3 (86th Legislature), relating to public school finance and public education; House Bill 1525 (87th Legislature), relating to the public school finance system and public education; and House Bill 4545 (87th Legislature), relating to the assessment of public school students, the establishment of a strong foundations grant program, and providing accelerated instruction for students who fail to achieve satisfactory performance on certain assessment instruments.

4. House Public Education Hearing: Accelerated Instruction, COVID Learning Loss, and Mental Health

The Committee will meet on 0%Tuesday, May 24, 2022 at 10:00am to hear invited and public testimony over the following interim charges:

Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 87th Legislature. Conduct active oversight of all associated rulemaking and other governmental actions taken to ensure the intended legislative outcome of all legislation, including the following:

  • 0%HB 1525 and 0%HB 3(86R), relating to public school finance and public education; 0%HB 4545, relating to assessment of public school students and providing accelerated instruction;
  • 0%SB 1365, relating to public school organization, accountability, and fiscal management; and
  • 0%SB 1716, relating to supplemental special education services and instructional materials for certain public school students.

Study the effects of COVID-19 on K-12 learning loss and best practices that exist to address learning loss. Monitor the implementation of state and local plans to address students’ achievement gaps. Make recommendations for supporting the state and local efforts to increase academic development.

Examine the impact of COVID-19 on students’ mental health, including the availability and workload of mental health professionals across the state and their role in the public school system. Make recommendations to reduce or eliminate existing barriers to providing mental health services in a traditional classroom setting or through teletherapy.

Examine the causes and contributors for chronic absenteeism in public schools and its impact on student outcomes. Consider techniques and approaches that have been utilized by public schools to identify students who are chronically absent and return these students to classrooms.

5. U.S. Department of Education may Allow School Districts to Extend ESSER Spending Deadline

The U.S. Department of Education stated that schools across the nation, including in Texas, may be eligible to extend their 0%ESSER spending deadlines to April 2026 for HVAC and facility-improvement projects.

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