SBOE planning effort; Children’s health insurance at risk; AND A Texas educator’s take on the fight for immigrant rights

State Board of Education stakes claim as long-term education goal-setter:  The State Board of Education began work Tuesday on a Long-Range Plan for Public Education that would establish core goals for the public schools.  The first meeting of a new 18-member steering committee to advise the SBOE focused on models of long-range plans developed by other states. The committee is […]

Parents want well-funded neighborhood schools, not diversion of dollars to charters and vouchers

In a national Hart Research poll released today by the American Federation of Teachers, three in four public school parents say the public schools their children attend provide them with an excellent or good education. Some 79 percent of parents are satisfied with their children’s public schools when it comes to helping their children achieve […]

Senate panel rejects Trump’s blueprint for cuts, vouchers

Our counterparts on the national AFT communications and legislative teams are keeping careful track of developments in Congress affecting funding for education. School districts in Texas and across the United States depend on federal funding for a significant part of their budgets. This year the flow of federal aid has been threatened by budget proposals […]

AFT launches “Essentials for Kids” to provide free supplies to schools: Educators and kids affected by Hurricane Harvey will be initial focus

See below for information on how to apply. The American Federation of Teachers, First Book, and the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation Wednesday launched a targeted effort to deliver brand-new books and basic-needs items, in coordination with first responders, educators and volunteers, to areas devastated by Hurricane Harvey. The partners simultaneously announced the Essentials for […]

News on retiree health care, TEA recapture relief, and new laws effective Sept. 1

Retiree health-care costs on TRS Board agenda:  On September 1 the trustees of the state Teacher Retirement System will confirm the new rates and benefit structures for the TRS-Care health plan for school retirees for calendar years 2018-2019. The revised rates and benefits will reflect the infusion of $212 million in state funds by the Legislature […]

Recapping the special session, part one

We have much to be thankful for in relation to the July-August special session of the Texas Legislature—primarily for the fact that it is over. The session called by Gov. Greg Abbott that ran from July 18 through August 15 ended with Abbott and his sidekick Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick frustrated by their failure to […]

When brutal cost increases and benefit reductions in the state retired teachers’ health-care plan awakened a “sleeping giant,” legislators took notice

TRS-Care bolstered just before the House’s dramatic sine die I retired in May of 2013 after a 29-year teaching career, one in Brownsville ISD and 28 in McAllen ISD.  Before I retired, I looked carefully at the three Teacher Retirement System health-care options (TRS-Care)–tiers 1, 2, and 3.  I chose the one with the best […]

House accepts stripped-down Senate school-funding bill with TRS-Care cost relief, then shuts down special session

The Texas House voted 94 to 46 this evening to accept a stripped-down Senate version of HB 21 on school funding. The Senate amendments to HB 21 eliminated $1.5 billion of the $1.8 billion in the House-passed version, completely eliminating the main sources of any new aid to cash-strapped urban districts–a proposed increase in the […]

Anti-teacher amendment rejected in Texas House; deal on school funding delayed in Texas Senate; TRS-Care cost relief for retirees coming to House floor Tuesday

An anti-teacher amendment was rejected decisively by a bipartisan majority in the Texas House late on Monday afternoon. Rep. Bill Zedler (R-Arlington) tried to insert the anti-teacher amendment into SB 16, a bill creating a commission to study long-term fixes for school finance and recommend a comprehensive overhaul before the next regular legislative session in […]

No Senate Vote on 2018-2019 School Funding; House Vote Pending on Long-Term School-Finance Study; TRS-Care Issue Being Negotiated

The Texas Senate keeps delaying a vote on increased school funding for 2018-2019 and now has recessed until 4 p.m. Monday. It may be just as well that they are still working out their stance, because what’s on the table so far in the Senate is very little. The $311 million senators have included thus far […]