From Social Security to STAAR woes, here are this week’s top stories from Teach the Vote:
ATPE Lobbyist Josh Sanderson was in Washington, D.C. this week to meet with members of our state’s congressional delegation and attend Tuesday’s hearing on Social Security offsets that affect educators and other public employees. The U.S. House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security also discussed a bill filed by Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX) that would eliminate the current Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and create a fairer system. Read Josh Sanderson’s blog post this week to learn more about the hearing and how H.R. 711, the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act, would help educators.
Also in Washington this week, the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Education looked at the president’s education budget proposal, while the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce held a hearing to discuss reauthorization of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and ways to protect student privacy. The U.S. Department of Education was also overseeing meetings of a negotiated rulemaking committee for the newly enacted Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ATPE Lobbyist Kate Kuhlmann provided a wrap-up for our blog, which you can read here.
With the approach of STAAR testing, many educators have been grumbling about new rules that require test time and the time students spend on breaks during the test to be tracked by test administrators. ATPE Lobbyist Monty Exter took a closer look at the issue this week. Read his blog post from yesterday on how a popular bill to reduce the overall time spent by students on standardized testing has caused some unforeseen headaches for educators while the Texas Education Agency (TEA) considers how to implement the new law.
The Texas Commission on Next Generation Assessments and Accountability met Wednesday, March 23, to continue working toward proposed suggestions to report ahead of the 2017 legislative session. ATPE’s Monty Exter reports that the meeting was held in the TEA/State Board of Education board room and was broken into two main parts. First, TEA staff gave a presentation on statutory nuances associated with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which reauthorized the primary federal education law, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) formerly known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The commission members also participated in a moderated work session among with board members and key legislators.
Click here to view the presentation on ESSA from Wednesday’s commission meeting in PDF format. Video of the entire meeting can be viewed here. Find additional information on the commission including video of previous meetings here. The next commission meeting will be held Wednesday, April 20, in Austin.
Next week presents a busy calendar full of interim hearings pertaining to public education. NOTE: The Texas Legislature’s computer systems are undergoing maintenance this weekend and will not be available until late Sunday night, March 27. In the meantime, some of the hearing notices linked below may not be available for viewing. For additional information, follow @TXLegeCouncil on Twitter.
- On Tuesday, March 29, there will be a joint hearing with the Senate Education Committee and Senate Higher Education Committee to discuss interim charges relating to educator preparation and teacher shortages, along with preparing high school students for post-secondary education and workforce training. ATPE Lobbyist Kate Kuhlmann will be there and will provide a report for Teach the Vote next week.
- The House Committee on Investments and Financial Services also meets on Tuesday.
- The Senate Finance Committee meets on Wednesday, March 30, to talk about taxes and budgeting.
- Also on Wednesday morning are meetings of the House Committee on Insurance and the House Committee on Pensions, which both deal with the Teacher Retirement System (TRS).
- The Joint Interim Committee to Study TRS Health Benefit Plans will meet Wednesday afternoon to hear public testimony on TRS-Care.
ATPE’s lobby team will report on all of next week’s activity here on Teach the Vote. For the latest developments on these and other events, follow @TeachtheVote on Twitter.
Have a beautiful weekend!