The Week Ahead at the Capitol: Budget, Charter Schools, and More

The state budget takes center stage at the Capitol in Austin during the week ahead. The Senate is expected to vote March 28 on its budget bill, SB 1. This bill leaves much to be desired. It will cut higher education significantly–as much as 10 percent at some institutions of higher learning. For public schools […]

Senate Committee Okays Voucher Bill

Split Vote Signals Fight Ahead: The Senate Education Committee by a vote of seven to three on Thursday approved a committee substitute for SB 3, the voucher bill by committee chair Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood). The outcome in committee came as no surprise, considering that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick had stacked the committee this year with […]

House Bills Would Curb State Testing Excesses, Delay Rollout of A-F Ratings

A batch of bills heard in the House Public Education Committee this week would make significant strides toward reining in the outsized role of standardized state testing in school accountability. The leading bill is HB 22 by committee chair Dan Huberty (R-Houston), which would delay use of A-F ratings until August 2019, giving the Legislature […]

Speaking Out Against State Senate’s Voucher Plan

An all-day, all-evening hearing on the top voucher bill in the Texas Senate has made it plain that even in the pro-voucher Senate there will be serious resistance to the diversion of taxpayer dollars without accountability to private schools. Texas AFT President Louis Malfaro, testifying late in the evening on Tuesday, recapped what scores of […]

State House and Senate Differ Markedly on Budget for Schools

The Texas Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday approved a draft 2018-19 budget (SB 1) that would let per-pupil funding for public schools stagnate, keeping the basic allotment for all districts at the same level as in 2016. Under the Senate plan, the state would actually reduce the amount of state general revenue for schools substantially, […]

Fraudulent Pro-Voucher Letters to Legislators Exposed

We thought we’d seen it all, but now comes word from the state Capitol that lawmakers have been receiving hundreds of pro-voucher letters purportedly coming from folks in their home districts–which those folks never sent or authorized. As reported by the Texas Tribune online news site, it seems the letters are all originating in Austin, […]

Legislative Wrap-Up for March 17

Controversial Pick for Pension Board Faces Texas Senate Opposition: Serious opposition has developed in the Texas Senate to the appointment of Josh McGee to serve as chair of the State Pension Review Board. McGee is a prominent critic of state-guaranteed pension benefits and is employed by a foundation in Houston that has led attacks on […]