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Teach the Vote’s Week in Review: Oct. 27, 2023

Teach the Vote
Teach the Vote

Date Posted: 10/27/2023

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

HB 1: House Public Education Committee Chairman Brad Buckley (R–Salado) filed House Bill (HB) 1 late last week, a 184-page voucher bill with several key provisions meant to entice hesitant rural Republicans to support it.   

Because multiple items in the bill are outside the scope of Gov. Greg Abbott's (R) special session call, the House parliamentarian refused to refer HB 1 to committee, resulting in a stalemate. Abbott has stated he intentionally left teacher pay and school funding off the special session agenda to be addressed only after a voucher has passed.  

It is critical that ATPE members continue engaging with their elected representatives to express their opposition to any voucher legislation. Please visit Advocacy Central to send a message to your representative today and remind them to stand strong and hold the line on vouchers. Educators must keep up pressure on lawmakers to ensure that behind-the-scenes negotiations don’t break any logjams and that opposition to vouchers stays strong.

Read more about HB 1 in this blog post.

EARLY VOTING: Early voting is underway and will continue through Friday, Nov. 3. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 7. Of particular interest to educators is Proposition 9, which would provide a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to most Teacher Retirement System (TRS) retirees. Find out what’s on the ballot in this blog post by ATPE Lobbyist Tricia Cave, and check out this ATPE Blog post for resources to help you build a sample ballot before you head to the polls. 

Voters in HD 2 will also decide who will represent them following Rep. Bryan Slaton's (R–Royse City) expulsion from the Texas House in May. Six candidates—one Democrat and five Republicans—are vying for the seat, with only one of the Republicans opposing vouchers. If you live in HD 2, please review the Teach the Vote profiles for these candidates.  

A-F RATINGS: A Texas judge has ordered the TEA not to release A-F school ratings for 2022-23. More than 100 Texas public school districts have joined the lawsuit, claiming the agency did not follow the law in notifying districts of changes to the A-F system before the beginning of the school year in which the new metrics will be applied, potentially leading to lower scores even if performance improves. Judge Catherine Mauzy ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, stating the school districts had sufficiently demonstrated the education commissioner’s implementation of the A-F accountability system for 2022-23 school year “violates Texas law and would cause irreparable harm” to Texas school districts. 

CAPITOL VISIT: ATPE Executive Director Dr. Shannon Holmes and State President Jayne Serna visited the Capitol Wednesday, Oct. 25, to thank lawmakers for their commitment to public education and stand against vouchers. 

ATPE Executive Director Dr. Shannon Holmes, Rep. Stan Lambert (R–Abilene), and ATPE State President Jayne Serna
ATPE Executive Director Dr. Shannon Holmes, Rep. Glenn Rogers (R–Mineral Wells), and ATPE State President Jayne Serna
ATPE Executive Director Dr. Shannon Holmes, Rep. James Talarico (D–Round Rock), ATPE State President Jayne Serna, and ATPE Lobbyist Tricia Cave
ATPE Executive Director Dr. Shannon Holmes, Rep. Trent Ashby (R–Lufkin), and ATPE State President Jayne Serna
Rep. Drew Darby (R–San Angelo), ATPE State President Jayne Serna, and ATPE Lobbyist Tricia Cave
ATPE Executive Director Dr. Shannon Holmes, Rep. Jon Rosenthal (D–Houston), ATPE State President Jayne Serna, and Rep. Gina Hinojosa (D–Austin)

COMMITTEE APPOINTMENT: Gov. Greg Abbott announced Wednesday he has appointed ATPE member Erin “Amanda” Bowdoin to the State Independent Living Council for a term set to expire Oct. 24, 2026. The Council develops the State Plan for Independent Living and serves as a resource to state and local organizations on Independent Living and related issues for persons with disabilities. Bowdoin teaches in Mesquite ISD and is a member of the National Family Association of DeafBlind and DeafBlind International.  


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