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Teach the Vote Week in Review: Feb. 2, 2024

Teach the Vote
Teach the Vote

Texas Legislature Elections Curriculum | Instruction TEA | Commissioner | SBOE Privatization | Vouchers Miscellaneous

Date Posted: 2/02/2024

The ATPE Governmental Relations team recaps the past week’s education news, legislative and election updates, and regulatory developments. 

VOTER REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Monday, Feb. 5, is the LAST day to register to vote in the March primary election. Take two minutes now and visit votetexas.gov to confirm your voter registration. If you need to register or update your name or address, do so now. This ATPE Blog post explains why the March primaries, not the November general election, are arguably the most consequential in terms of Texas public education. The majority of races for the Texas Legislature will be decided in March because of the way Texas legislative districts are drawn—and the majority of decisions about Texas public education, including about the funding available for your salary, health insurance, and retirement benefits, is made by the Texas Legislature. Mark these key primary election dates on your calendar: 

  • Feb. 5: Voter registration deadline 
  • Feb. 20: Early voting begins 
  • Feb. 23: Last day to apply for a ballot to vote by mail 
  • March 1: Early voting ends 
  • March 5: Election Day 

ATPE members are invited to take the “I Pledge to Vote Pro-Public Education” pledge in ATPE’s Advocacy Central, as well as record a short video encouraging their colleagues, friends, and family to also vote pro-public education. 

HD 2 SPECIAL ELECTION RUNOFF: In case you need proof that your vote matters, the special election runoff to fill the empty seat of former House District (HD) 2 Rep. Bryan Slaton for the remainder of the current legislative term was decided by 107 votes. Turnout matters. ATPE Lobbyist Tricia Cave covers the surprise win of Rep.-elect Jill Dutton (R–Van Zandt) over a candidate backed by the governor and the attorney general in this blog post. Dutton and Money will each be on the ballot again in March in a primary rematch that will determine who serves during the next regular legislative session.

SBOE: The State Board of Education (SBOE) met this week in Austin. On Wednesday, Texas Education Agency (TEA) Commissioner Mike Morath presented the TEA Annual Report to the board, as well as took questions from SBOE members on a variety of topics, including Houston ISD, teacher mental health, House Bill 900, and more. ATPE Senior Lobbyist Mark Wiggins has a recap in this blog post. 

LA JOYA ISD: On Thursday, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) announced the appointment of a seven-member Board of Managers and a new superintendent to oversee the operations of the La Joya Independent School District (LJISD). This action follows what the TEA says was a comprehensive investigation that substantiated allegations of fraud and conflicts of interest executed by members of the elected LJISD Board of Trustees. The new superintendent, Dr. Marcey Sorensen, most recently served as Deputy Superintendent for the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE). You can read more about Sorensen and the newly appointed Board of Managers in the TEA press release. This Winter 2023 ATPE News article examines the controversies surrounding the TEA takeover process. ATPE emailed its members in La Joya ISD to explain their rights in this situation and share relevant member resources.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: The annual observation of Black History Month kicked off Thursday, and over on the ATPE Blog, we’re spotlighting three African American education pioneers, including Texan Inez Beverly Prosser. Please take a moment to reflect on their stories. 


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