Capitol Update #2

November 27, 2020 |

Friday, November 27, 2020

The Capitol Update provides you with expert insight and analysis on legislative issues impacting Texas public school students and educators. This month’s Capitol Update covers our recent Post Election Op-ed; reviews our initial bill tracking efforts; and provides an opportunity to sign up for our legislative action alerts.

Michelle Smith, Ph.D.
Vice President of Policy and Advocacy
Raise Your Hand Texas

Capitol Connections with Michelle

Welcome to the November edition of the Raise Your Hand Texas Capitol Update!  We hope you’re well and looking forward to some version of a much-deserved holiday break. 

If you haven’t checked out our Post Election Op-ed which has made its way into several publications around the state, you can read it here.  Now is the time to pivot our attention from a dramatic election season to the work ahead. Your elected officials need to hear from you regarding your most pressing education issues and we hope to make it easy for you to connect. Next month, we’ll let you know more about our weekly session update and how you can stay informed and involved.  Until then, read on for the latest from the RYHT policy team.

Bob Popinski
Director of Policy
Raise Your Hand Texas

Bob’s Two Cents

Raise Your Hand Texas is currently tracking a little over 100 bills filed by our elected House and Senate members. That number will probably grow to 900 to 1,000 by the filing deadline on March 12th, 60 days into the legislative session.  Every member is hoping to navigate their specific issue through the legislative process knowing only about 16% of bills filed stand a chance of crossing the finish line.  COVID-19 may change some of the normal dynamics that occur throughout the legislative process, but the major policy issues will have their chance to be discussed and debated.   

If the recent interim hearing held by the Senate Education Committee on November 13th is any indicator of the major issues of the legislative session, then we know that school funding, assessment and accountability, and effective teaching and instruction will be priorities.  

COVID-19 did not expose these issues.  These are always the most contested issues of any legislative session.  What COVID-19 magnified is that our state still has a long way to go in our discussions and policy solutions to the most pressing issues of public education. Even after HB 3, which provided an additional $530 per student, our state ranks in the bottom 10 in the nation. Raise Your Hand is concerned about any potential ramifications to school funding due to the state’s economy.  Policy debates about equitable access to high-speed internet access and devices for decades, yet Texas still had 1.8 million students that lacked access to these basic needs prior to COVID-19. How should our schools be held accountable for the education they provide this past year and in the future  Our state’s accountability system primarily uses the STAAR, a test given at the end of the year in a time when teachers are teaching both in-person and remote.

There are a lot of policy issues to be discussed during the 87th Legislative Session. Stay tuned.    

Want to look into the future of public education?

3 simple ways to get the scoop, get engaged, and get connected.

Libby Cohen, Ph.D.
Director of Advocacy and Outreach
Raise Your Hand Texas

On the Move with Libby

Elections are over, and our advocacy team is fully focused on preparing for the legislative session ahead. Though COVID-19 will likely impact the form of the session–access to the Capitol, committee hearings, and testimony format may all look different, among other possible changes–the substance will remain unchanged. Lawmakers still need to hear from their constituents as they make important decisions for our state. Now is a good time to make sure you’re signed up for our legislative action alerts so that we can let you know when those critical moments arrive and make it easy for you to connect to your elected officials. It takes all of us to achieve great outcomes for our public schools, and we look forward to working alongside you in the months ahead.  

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