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Teach the Vote’s Week in Review: Sept. 22, 2023

Teach the Vote
Teach the Vote

Date Posted: 9/22/2023

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

CAPITOL CLIMATE: On Saturday, the Texas Senate acquitted Attorney General Ken Paxton on all impeachment charges brought by the Texas House. The acquittal vote was followed by a fiery speech by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who not only criticized the House impeachment proceedings but also launched several personal attacks directly at House Speaker Dade Phelan. Phelan responded with his own passionate statement, and Paxton has since been appearing on various media outlets to fire back at the House and many other Republicans. Meanwhile, Gov. Greg Abbott took part in a telephone town hall hosted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, during which he urged faith leaders to “go to the pulpit” to help him persuade a very divided Legislature to pass a private school voucher program—something the House has never been willing do. Following all this? ATPE Lobbyist Tricia Cave recaps the town hall in this blog post, and ATPE Governmental Relations Director Monty Exter spoke with The Dallas Morning News following the event. ATPE Senior Lobbyist Mark Wiggins discussed the intraparty conflict and its potential effect on the anticipated special session with Fox 7 Austin.

OPPOSE VOUCHERS: Given the extreme political pressure House members are under, it is critical that ATPE members and all educators contact their elected officials before a special session is called to let them know the education community is not willing to negotiate away the future of Texas public schools. ATPE members may log in to Advocacy Central to easily send these messages. In addition, grassroots organization Texans for Public Education (T4PE) is hosting an anti-voucher rally from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7. ATPE members are encouraged to RSVP here.

SCHOOL CLOSURES: School districts across the state, including San Antonio ISD, Plano ISD, and Fort Worth ISD, are considering campus closure plans to offset budget shortfalls brought about by declining enrollment. The Texas Tribune interviewed ATPE Governmental Relations Director Monty Exter about the challenges leading districts down this path.

SAVE PLAN:  Over on the ATPE Blog, we take a closer look at the federal Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) student loan repayment plan. The introduction of the SAVE plan coincides with the end of the student loan payment pause in October. The SAVE repayment plan aims to cut payments on undergraduate loans in half, bring down borrowers’ loan payments, provide early forgiveness for low-balance borrowers, and ensure that borrowers don’t have their balance grow as long as they keep up with required payments.

TRIBFEST: The Texas Tribune Festival is happening through Saturday in Austin, with a full lineup of nearly 300 thought leaders from politics, journalism, and more. Educators and students can still take advantage of significant discounts on registration. Learn more on the festival website.


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