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Teach the Vote’s Week in Review: Oct. 6, 2023

Teach the Vote
Teach the Vote

Texas Legislature Privatization | Vouchers

Date Posted: 10/06/2023

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

BOOT VOUCHERS RALLY: Lawmakers are returning to Austin Monday for a special session on border security and private school vouchers, styled under their newest euphemism of "education freedom." It's an all-hands-on-deck situation within the Texas public education community as we work to defeat this latest attempt to pass a voucher. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is placing enormous pressure on legislators to create a new taxpayer-funded entitlement for private and home schools in the form of a universal "Education Savings Account" voucher program, so it's especially important for the public school community to continue expressing opposition to private school vouchers and demonstrating our support for those legislators who stand strong against this immense politicking, particularly at the polls next March. The grassroots organization Texans for Public Education (T4PE) is holding a Boot Vouchers 2023 rally from 12–2 p.m. Saturday at the State Capitol. If you are attending, look for ATPE-branded signs. Whether you can make it to Austin or not, ATPE members are urged to log in to Advocacy Central to send messages to their legislators opposing vouchers. 

SPECIAL SESSION PROCLAMATION: Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has released his much-anticipated proclamation for the third called session, which begins Monday. The agenda, as expected, includes a call for legislation authorizing private school vouchers, which Abbott characterizes as an “education freedom” measure. Additional items on the agenda include immigration, border security, Colony Ridge, and a ban on vaccine mandates. The proclamation does not call for legislation addressing the need for additional school funding, including school safety funding, or for increasing educator pay. ATPE Lobbyist Tricia Cave has more in this blog post.

CLERGY PUSH BACK: The Baptist General Convention of Texas released a statement Tuesday from 21 of its current and past presidents and executive directors condemning Gov. Greg Abbott's call for pastors to "go to the pulpit" on Sunday, Oct. 15, and push their congregations to support his voucher proposal. ATPE Lobbyist Tricia Cave has more in this blog post

CONGRESS: The U.S. House voted Tuesday to oust Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R—California) as House Speaker. Eight members of the Republican majority joined with all Democrats in the historic 216-210 vote to remove the speaker, which has never happened before in U.S. history. The Texas congressional delegation voted along party lines with all Republican members voting to keep McCarthy in office. For now, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R—North Carolina) will serve as interim speaker until someone garners enough support to win the speakership. Reps. Jim Jordan (R—Ohio) and Steve Scalise (R—Louisiana) have announced their intent to run for the leadership post, while McCarthy said he would not seek to be reinstated. In the meantime, Congress is likely to grind to halt without a clear path on building the voting coalition required to choose a replacement as the clock ticks again toward a government shutdown later this fall.  



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