Raise Your Hand Texas December Update | Friday, December 16, 2022

December 16, 2022  

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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: Sign Up to Track and Follow Bills

Raise Your Hand Texas encourages you to set up alerts for education-related bills important to you and your community. To get started, click the MyTLO tab on the Texas Capitol’s website and create an account.

After creating an account, enter a list of bills you want to follow. If you do not know a bill’s number, or are not familiar with bills currently filed, use the Text Search option to learn more about bills already filed by legislators. 

The MyTLO site also allows you to set alerts notifying you of committee and calendar postings, when bills are assigned subjects of interest, or when the House or Senate adjourn. A link to instructions for mobile device support is available for anyone who wants access to meeting notices, committee information, or the status of a bill from their mobile devices.

To get you started here are just a few of the bills Raise Your Hand Texas is currently tracking in MyTLO. Please note, that tracking a bill does not necessarily indicate our endorsement of the bill. Raise Your Hand Texas will monitor the status of these bills and many others throughout the legislative session.

  • HB 535 (Bailes): Relating to indicators of achievement under the public school accountability system.
  • HB 680 (Shaheen): Relating to the use of interim testing and adaptive, growth-based assessment instruments for certain required assessments of public school students.
  • HB 770 (Allen): Relating to the salary and wages paid to public school employees.
  • HB 882 (Howard): Relating to an annual adjustment to the basic allotment under the Foundation School Program to reflect inflation.

Knowing the status of a bill, or when movement begins on one, gives you the information you need to act. When that time comes, contact your state representative or senator, and let them know you support public education and where you stand on that particular bill – because the future of Texas is in our public schools.

Four Things to Know:

1. Charles Butt Foundation Releases Texas Teacher Workforce Report

The Charles Butt Foundation released its 2022 Texas Teacher Workforce Report last week. The second report commissioned with the University of Houston explores teacher preparation, certification, pay, retention, and mobility, and provides further understanding on state policy recommendations regarding increased capacity and investment in our state’s teacher workforce.

The section of the report reviewing average base pay for teachers is eye opening. When adjusting for inflation, teacher salaries have only increased from $55,825 to $57,639 between the 2011-12 and 2020-21 school year, only an $1,800 increase over a 10-year period.

Lawmakers must not take the contributions our teachers make for granted. This year alone, 77% of Texas teachers seriously considered leaving the classroom, citing excessive workload, insufficient pay, and a feeling of disrespect for their profession from the community as major factors in that decision. Many school districts will continue to face teacher shortages unless the Legislature acts now. Improving teacher compensation and working conditions are the first steps in ensuring our teachers feel adequately supported and welcomed in Texas public schools. Teachers always show up for Texas during its toughest hours. It’s time for Texas to show up for our teachers.

2. Lt. Gov. Patrick Discusses Education Policy Priorities for Next Session

In late November, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick held a press conference to discuss his major policy issues for the upcoming legislative session, including several related to public education. He announced his support for expanding current scholarship programs for aspiring teachers, increasing teacher pay, providing a 13th check or cost of living adjustment for retired teachers, empowering parents by giving them a voice in their children’s education, and the need for additional school safety funding. Patrick’s other policy priorities included increasing the current homestead exemption from $40,000 to $65,000 to provide property tax relief to homeowners.

3. Texas State Board of Education Adopts 88th Legislative Session Policy Recommendations

During its November meeting, the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) adopted its policy recommendations for the upcoming legislative session, including granting the SBOE veto authority of charter school expansion, raising the floor of the minimum salary schedule by a minimum of 50%, and rejecting all attempts to divert public dollars away from public schools in the form of vouchers, education savings accounts, taxpayer saving grants, or any other mechanisms that have the effect of reducing funding to public schools.

Raise Your Hand Texas agrees. Public dollars should remain in public schools. Students, parents, communities, and businesses rely on public schools to provide a high-quality education and ensure a bright future for Texas. Vouchers divert public education funds to private schools, neglect our most vulnerable students, and lack transparency when it comes to spending and outcomes. Now more than ever, the Texas Legislature needs to invest in the only education system with the capacity to serve the large and diverse student population of Texas.

4. Permanent School Fund’s Bond Guarantee Program About to Reach Limit

A little known, but very important program, the Permanent School Fund’s Bond Guarantee Program is almost at capacity. The program helps schools receive better interest rates on construction bonds and save taxpayer dollars. Without IRS action on extending the limits, the program may only have months before it must stop supporting school bonds in this way. In Congress, Reps. Lloyd Doggett and Jodey C. Arrington, have filed legislation which would stop the IRS from setting a limit at all.

Categories: Across the Lawn

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