Lawsuit settlement ends use of value-added evaluations for Houston teachers

In another huge victory for the right of teachers to be fairly evaluated, Houston ISD agreed, in a settlement of a federal lawsuit brought by seven Houston teachers and our local union– the Houston Federation of Teachers–not to use value-added scores to terminate a teacher as long as the teacher is unable to independently test or challenge the score. The most significant […]

New report highlights the consequences of underfunding our public schools

Researchers at the Center for Public Policy Priorities, the Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium, and the University of Texas at Austin have summed up what we unfortunately have realized for several years, that the draconian budget cuts to public education in 2011 have had significant and ongoing negative impacts on our students. However, the groups’ report–Consequences […]

Partnership with First Book continues with massive book giveaway in Houston Saturday

Thanks to a partnership between Texas AFT Houston-area unions, the American Federation of Teachers, the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, and First Book, some 36,000 brand new books will be distributed to Houston-area elementary teachers Saturday. If you are an elementary teacher and would like to attend, make sure to sign up for free with First Book and read the important event details below. Over […]

House Public Education Committee hearing confirmed for October 12; Certification board to consider rules implementing new improper-relationship sanctions

House Public Education Committee hearing confirmed for October 12 in Austin:  The Public Education Committee of the Texas House has confirmed it will meet in the state Capitol on October 12 to begin weighing the educational impacts of Hurricane Harvey.  The hearing notice describes the topic as follows: Determine, to the extent possible, the scope […]

Update on Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); First look at education costs to state from Hurricane Harvey

Update on Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): If the U.S. Congress does not quickly renew the expired authority for the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program, hundreds of thousands of Texas schoolchildren from low-income working families are going to lose their health coverage by next February. That’s when the state would run out of CHIP funds if […]

Congress lets Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) expire—now what? Bullying prevention month (and new state cyberbullying law)

Congress lets Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) expire—now what?  On September 30 the vitally needed federal Children’s Health Insurance Program expired thanks to congressional inaction. Health coverage for a million Texas children from low-income working families and millions more in other states now faces an uncertain future. States have counted on reauthorization and a continued […]

State constitutional amendments on November 7 ballot—register to vote by October 10

There’s an election coming up on November 7 that will decide the shape of school boards in many communities across Texas as well as the fate of seven amendments to the Texas Constitution. In many locales school bonds, tax rates, and other policy propositions will be on the ballot as well. Last day to register […]

Legislative focus increasingly on hurricane impacts, relief

  Two weeks after Texas House Speaker Joe Straus ordered several legislative committees into action on studies of Hurricane Harvey impacts and potential state policy responses, the Texas Senate has followed suit. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, presiding officer of the Senate, now has directed nine committees to get involved in Hurricane Harvey response. Patrick’s move […]

Attack on health care stopped in its tracks; AND Check out the new issue of American Educator

Attack on Health Care Stopped in its Tracks:  Good work, Texas AFT activists! Thanks to your advocacy and that of many more like you nationwide, the U.S. Senate leadership has withdrawn its latest attempt to strip away affordable health care from millions of Americans. Here’s some of what AFT President Randi Weingarten had to say […]

House to hold hearings on hurricane issues; State submits plan to feds; Voter Registration Day!

Texas House to Hold Hearings on Hurricane-Impact Issues:  Three Texas House committees are expected to conduct hearings soon on issues arising from Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath. On October 2 in Houston, the Appropriations Committee will meet to take stock of federal and state funding available for relief and recovery. On October 4, also in Houston, […]