Tag Archives: Lobby Day

Teach the Vote’s Week in Review: Dec. 7, 2018

Here’s the latest update on education news and legislative developments from your ATPE Governmental Relations team:

The State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) met today in Austin. On the agenda was the approval of new teacher certification standards, performance standards for preparation program accreditation status, and principal and teacher surveys. The board gave final approval (subject to SBOE review) to the pedagogy and professional responsibilities (PPR) standards for the new Trade and Industrial Workforce Training Certificate and to updated performance standards under the accountability system for educator preparation programs (EPPs). The board also approved final versions of the previously piloted principal and teacher surveys to be used for EPP accountability. Minor changes were made to the surveys; a number of duplicative questions were removed to avoid data overlap.

The bulk of the meeting was spent on a discussion item regarding a proposal from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to redesign the teacher certification process in Texas. The item was not up for action today, but still drew a large number of testifiers. The addition of a performance-based, portfolio-style certification assessment drew the most attention. Testifiers expressed concerns with cost, problems with the edTPA design, and fears of shrinking the teacher candidate pool, among others. Supporters raised the need for higher rigor in order to ensure teacher candidates receive adequate preparation, and they stressed that more than just a multiple choice certification exam should be required to demonstrate knowledge. The redesign item was only a discussion today, so no action was taken. For more on the discussion today, read this Twitter thread from ATPE Lobbyist Kate Kuhlmann.


With the regular session of the 86th Legislature only a month away now, school finance continues to dominate discussions about which education-related issues lawmakers will tackle earnestly in 2019. ATPE’s lobbyists have been reporting on the deliberations this year of the Texas Commission on Public School Finance, which was tasked with making recommendations for legislative changes to the state’s beleaguered school funding system. A final report is expected from the commission this month.

Many of those recent school finance discussions involving legislators and policymakers have centered around the desire to provide property tax relief for homeowners and cap the amount of local taxes that can be levied by school districts and other municipalities. Decreasing the taxing burden at the local school district level is a popular idea, along with requiring the state to assume responsibility for funding a larger portion of the state’s education budget. But as Ross Ramsey writes in his analysis this week for the Texas Tribune that we’ve republished here on Teach the Vote, it remains unclear where additional revenue might be generated to offset the reduction in local property taxes. ATPE’s lobby team will continue to participate in and report on the discussions about school finance as we head into the upcoming legislative session.

Rep. Gary VanDeaver, ATPE Executive Director Shannon Holmes, and Rep. Travis Clardy at the TAMS conference, Dec. 6, 2018

On the heels of a competitive 2018 election cycle, many elected officials have also been talking about raising teacher pay. This week, two state representatives debated the issue of teacher compensation during a conference hosted by the Texas Association of Midsize Schools. ATPE Executive Director Shannon Holmes was invited to moderate the panel discussion, and ATPE Lobbyist Mark Wiggins provided this blog post about the event.


Register to attend the 2019 ATPE at the Capitol event taking place in Austin on Feb. 24–-25, 2019! ATPE members, this is your opportunity to be a part of the process when the Texas Legislature convenes next month.

On Sunday, Feb. 24, you’ll learn about the top education issues that will be on the front burner next session and receive training on how to become an effective advocate for your profession. On Monday, Feb. 25, you’ll head to the Texas Capitol along with hundreds of ATPE members to directly speak to legislators and their staff.

To learn more about this exciting event, please log in to atpe.org/advocacy-central to register (there is no registration fee). The deadline to register online for this event and book hotel rooms is Jan. 24, 2019. Take advantage and register early as hotel rooms are booking up fast. Please feel free to contact government@atpe.org. with any questions.


Houstonians will be heading to the polls once more on Dec. 11 to determine who will represent them in the state senate during the upcoming legislative session. After Sen. Sylvia Garcia vacated her seat to run for Congressional District TX – 29, a seat she won last month, a Senate District 6 special election was called by Gov. Greg Abbott in order to fill her seat. The two women leading the race to replace Garcia are well known Houston Democrats Rep. Carol Alvarado of Texas House District 145 (HD 145), Rep. Ana Hernandez of Texas House District 143 (HD -143), Democrat Mia Mundy, and Republican Martha Fierro. If a single candidate fails to capture 50 percent of the vote on Tuesday, there could be a runoff in January after the legislative session has begun. Early voting in the race ends today. Harris County voters can find poll locations and sample ballots here.

Dec. 11 will also be election day for a number of local races across the state, so find out what’s on your local ballot here.

Highlights from ATPE’s Political Involvement Training and Lobby Day

ATPE thanks all our members who braved the cold, wet weather to attend our Lobby Day events in Austin earlier this week. We also sincerely appreciate our guest speakers, Rev. Charles Foster Johnson of Pastors for Texas Children and Retired District Judge John Dietz. Attendees are reminded to watch for our follow-up email and encouraged to complete the online evaluation of the event to help us continue to offer excellent programs like this one in the future.

Read more about the event:


Media coverage:

Links of interest:

ATPE Political Involvement Training and Lobby Day begins

The first session gets started at the 2013 ATPE Political Involvement Training and Lobby Day.

The first session gets started at the 2013 ATPE Political Involvement Training and Lobby Day.

ATPE’s 2013 Political Involvement Training and Lobby Day is kicking off this afternoon at the Hilton Austin Downtown with three general sessions and a live auction benefiting the ATPE Political Action Committee (ATPE-PAC).

During the first session, the ATPE Lobby Team will brief attendees on priority issues, including funding, testing, vouchers, the Teacher Retirement System and school safety.

The ATPE state officers will demo a visit to a legislative office during the second sesson.

Our third session features a legislative panel with Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, chairman of the House Public Education Committee, and Sen. Leticia Van de Putte.

Tomorrow, Lobby Day attendees will meet with their senators, representatives and legislative staff members at the State Capitol.

If you’re an attendee who’s tweeting, please use the hashtag #ATPELobbyDay.

End-of-the-week legislative wrap-up

Senate Education Committee will meet Monday

The Senate Education Committee will meet for the first time this session 2 p.m. Monday, Jan. 28. The hearing will be a joint venture with the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Rural Affairs & Homeland Security and will focus on school safety policies and possible improvements. In the wake of recent gun violence tragedies, several proposals to amend school safety and gun control laws are being considered. You can watch the committee hearing live here.

House committee assignments expected next week

Word around the Capitol is that House committee assignments will be released sometime next week. The makeup of pivotal committees, such as the House Public Education Committee and the House Appropriations Committee, will be of particular interest. The House Public Education Committee will have a new chairman and several new members.

Lobby Day Senate visit schedule

Though online registration has closed, you can still attend ATPE’s Political Involvement Training and Lobby Day by registering on-site the day of the event. The two-day event will take place Feb. 10-11, 2013, at the Hilton Austin Downtown and the Texas State Capitol and will feature hands-on political involvement training on the first day, followed by face-to-face meetings with your legislators the second day.

Attendees will be responsible for scheduling appointments with their representatives, but ATPE will schedule the Senate meetings. A schedule of the Senate appointments will be available next week.

Stay tuned.


Legislative session officially underway

(A repost of the Jan. 8, 2013, Legislative Alert Network message)

The 83rd session of the Texas Legislature officially kicked off at noon today. The most important piece of business on this first day was swearing in newly elected members and electing Rep. Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) to a third term as Speaker of the House. Straus has a record of even-handed leadership, which he will need while overseeing what is sure to be a contentious session in which major battles over public education funding, teacher retirement and the creation of a private school voucher program are expected.

In related news, the state comptroller released the state’s budget revenue estimate yesterday. The estimate confirmed the assertion of former state analyst Stuart Greenfield, recently reported by ATPE, that the state will have more than enough funds on hand to restore all of the budget cuts made to public education and Medicaid during the last session. According to the comptroller’s estimate, the state has a budget surplus of nearly $9 billion and nearly $12 billion in the state’s Rainy Day Fund. How these funds are used will be an ongoing fight this session. ATPE will advocate restoring the budget cuts made last session and adequately funding student population growth. Our opposition will advocate using the money for other purposes, such as eliminating the business margins tax, which was created to replace the funding lost by reducing property taxes after the last lawsuit over school finance.

The battle might ultimately hinge on the involvement of constituents like you. It’s crucial that all educators stay informed and involved this session. The following information explains the ATPE resources that can help you do just that.

Don’t forget to register for Lobby Day

It’s not too late to register online for ATPE’s Political Involvement Training and Lobby Day. The two-day event will take place Feb. 10-11, at the Hilton Austin Downtown and the Texas State Capitol.

Lobby Day is a great way for you to build relationships with the elected officials charged with making decisions that affect your day-to-day working environment. The first day of the event will feature hands-on training from the ATPE lobby team; the second will have attendees meeting face-to-face with their legislators. Plus, attendees will earn valuable continuing profession education (CPE) credit.

The deadline to register online is Jan. 17. Registration is open to all ATPE members and financial assistance for qualified local units is available. The deadline to make housing reservations is also Jan. 17. Click here to make your housing reservations now! Rooms are still available.

Register now!

See how one individual educator—State Treasurer Cory Colby—is Teaching the Vote: