About the Texas AFT Legislative Hotline

The Texas AFT Legislative Hotline is published by e-mail and to this site each business weekday (and some holidays and weekends when important news justifies a post) by the staff at the Texas American Federation of Teachers.

You may sign up for the e-mail list here.

Hotlines from August 20, 2010 to present may be found on the main site through the month links on the right navigation bar, or by using the search field.

Hotlines before that day may be found here.


In Tuesday night’s nationally televised gubernatorial debate between Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott, the differences on the issues between the candidates were many and deep, starting with public education. If you missed the live airing of the debate, you can view it here.

Davis, the Democratic … (read more…)


Share My Lesson, the American Federation of Teachers, and Texas AFT hosted 45 active and retired teachers in Austin the weekend before last for an around-the-clock session of updating and creating more than 200 lesson plans and teaching resources, covering all subjects and grades. These resources are now available for free download on (read more…)

Dan Patrick, the Republican state senator running for lieutenant governor, cannot keep his story straight on the issue of education funding. First he falsely claimed that last year he “led the charge” to restore the $5.4 billion in funding that was slashed in 2011. When that claim was exposed as a “pants on fire” falsehood by media fact-checkers, Patrick started arguing, again falsely, … (read more…)

The second and final debate in the Texas governor’s race will occur Tuesday, September 30, at 8 p.m. Central Time. The debate comes against the backdrop of two developments that ought to make it a difficult moment for Greg Abbott, the Republican candidate for governor.

First, on Friday in his capacity as attorney general Abbott continued his defense of the indefensible school budget cuts and … (read more…)

On August 28 state District Judge John Dietz ruled that the current state system of school funding violates the state’s constitutional duty to provide adequately and equitably for public education. Late on Friday, September 26, Attorney General Greg Abbott confirmed that he would continue to defend this indefensible school-finance system, by filing an appeal with the Texas Supreme Court seeking … (read more…)

Senate Education Committee chair Dan Patrick, the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor, already has been nailed by the news reporters at Texas PolitiFact for falsely claiming that he “led the charge” to restore the $5.4 billion that was cut from public education in 2011. His actual role, as PolitiFact … (read more…)

Mark your calendar for two key debates in the races for lieutenant governor (7 p.m. Central Time on Monday, September 29) and governor (8 p.m. Central Time on Tuesday, September 30)!

In Monday’s one-hour debate, Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, Democrat of San Antonio, faces off with Sen. Dan Patrick, Republican of Houston, courting voters in the contest for lieutenant governor. In Patrick’s … (read more…)

A member of Congress from New York has filed a worthy bill to curb excessive testing in grades 3-8 mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Democratic U.S. Rep. Steve Israel has proposed the Tackling Excessive Standardized Testing (TEST) Act, H.R. 5612, under which states would no longer have to administer standardized tests every year in math and English language arts from third through … (read more…)

In the first gubernatorial debate on September 19, Attorney General Greg Abbott tried mightily to misunderstand a question put to him by his opponent in the governor’s race, Sen. Wendy Davis. She asked if he would quit defending the indefensible school-finance system that has been held unconstitutionally inadequate and inequitable by a state district judge. In particular, she asked if he would … (read more…)

The first gubernatorial debate between Sen. Wendy Davis and Attorney General Greg Abbott confirmed that their differing views on public education will give voters a clear choice this November. Davis showed why she has earned Texas AFT’s backing as a candidate who has fought hard for restored education funding, universal access to pre-K, stopping the overuse and misuse of testing, and more. … (read more…)

By a vote of 12 to 3, the elected State Board of Education on Friday vetoed a rule proposed by the appointed State Board for Educator Certification that would have reaffirmed the current requirement of a 2.5 GPA for admission to state-approved educator-preparation programs. Several SBOE members in the majority voiced the hope that the veto would compel the certification board to reconsider and … (read more…)

A considerably diluted resolution complaining about new College Board guidelines for Advanced Placement U.S. history courses passed by a vote of 8 to 4 at the State Board of Education on September 19. The majority sought to reproach the College Board for insufficient positive emphasis on American ideals of liberty and free enterprise and too much emphasis on conflicts and shortcomings. Witnesses … (read more…)

In 2013 the state legislature passed a bill calling for a small increase in the grade point average generally required for entry into an educator-preparation program. But last month the gubernatorial appointees on the State Board for Educator Certification balked at raising the required GPA to 2.75 from the current 2.5.

After hearing from private providers of alternative-certification programs … (read more…)

Texas AFT’s champion in the governor’s race, Sen. Wendy Davis, will take on Attorney General Greg Abbott in the first of two televised debates on Friday at 6 p.m. Central/5 p.m. Mountain Time. You can see the debate on your computer via livestream at the Web site of The Monitor,

According to the Texas Tribune, you can watch the … (read more…)

randicorpusAs part of a back-to-school tour across the nation, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on September 11 visited a … (read more…)

Celebrating the new anti-bullying policy: Zeph Capo (HFT vice president), Juliet Stipeche (HISD board president) and Wretha Thomas (HESP president)

National AFT media are reporting a labor-management policy breakthrough spearheaded by AFT members in Houston ISD, another Texas stop on AFT President Weingarten’s back-to-school tour. Here’s the story:

The nation’s first anti-bullying policy for school employees, an effort initiated by Houston educational support workers, developed collaboratively with school administration and now part of … (read more…)

The September 9 hearing of the Legislative Budget Board and Governor’s Budget Office featured a strong critique of the proposed Texas Education Agency budget’s inadequacies from Texas AFT legislative counsel Patty Quinzi and independent school-finance expert Lynn Moak. Thanks to all of you who already have sent your own … (read more…)

The legislature and governor chopped $200 million for full-day pre-K expansion grants from the biennial state budget in 2011 and did not restore the grant funds in 2013, thus continuing the cut for two more years.

Now the issue of full-day pre-K access is front and center in the race for governor and lieutenant governor, with … (read more…)

On September 9 the Texas Education Agency will present a draft of a two-year budget for public education to staffers of the Legislative Budget Board and the Governor’s Budget Office. This budget request aims way too low to meet the needs of Texas schoolchildren.

Let our legislators and the governor know they need to aim higher—instead of the failure by design that is baked into the TEA … (read more…)

A Texas House-Senate Select Committee on Education Policy for a Skilled Workforce met on September 5 to consider the condition of career and technical education, now that HB 5 has elevated the importance of CTE as a graduation pathway in Texas high schools. A big point of emphasis in the hearing was the important role of counselors, both in helping students make better decisions about their … (read more…)

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus has set up a new process to analyze spending by selected state agencies, evaluate the effectiveness of agency programs, and consider alternatives. Among the agencies up for this “strategic fiscal review” by legislators and their budget staff is the Texas Education Agency. All of TEA’s spending programs other than state aid that … (read more…)

Expert budget staffers for the governor and the legislature will be holding hearings this month on budget requests from state agencies that are of great importance to Texas AFT members.  The staff of the Legislative Budget Board and Governor’s Budget Office will hold a hearing on the TEA budget request on September 9, on the budget requested by community colleges … (read more…)

Today’s Hotline shares with you a hard-hitting article, published this week in the Houston Chronicle, by two Houston ISD teachers (and Houston Federation of Teachers members) whose recent experience on the job makes clear why due process when faced with adverse employment action is so … (read more…)

With a student population that is ever more challenging, teachers need every bit of help they can get to engage effectively and deliver a sound education in their classrooms. While much will depend on the outcome of big policy and legal battles for the funding our schools require, teachers can help each other with tools like the Share My Lesson online … (read more…)

State District Judge John Dietz concisely summarized the recent history of Texas school finance en route to his August 28 ruling that the state has failed in its constitutional duty to fund public schools adequately and equitably. Apologists for the status quo on school funding will do what they can to contest the judge’s conclusions, but they will have a hard time disputing this summary … (read more…)

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