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 […]

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 […]

Fight goes on for school funding, TRS retirees’ health-care cost relief

With six days left in the current 30-day special session of the Texas Legislature, not a single bill has been passed and sent to Gov. Greg Abbott, despite Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s ardent efforts to push through many hot-button proposals, including private-school vouchers and transgender-discrimination mandates. Still alive in the special session are important school-funding […]

House action: clean sweep for school funding; committee rejects vouchers

It was a clean sweep in the Texas House today for three key bills on school funding: HB 21 to increase school aid; HB 30 to pay for the increase; and HB 23 to provide for autism grants within the public schools. All passed easily on second reading, with the first two garnering 131 and […]

TRS-Care Relief for Retirees, Potential TRS Pension Cost-of-Living Increase on Tap

The Texas House on Tuesday will vote on two bills to give retired school employees a better deal. HB 20 by Rep. Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin) would use $212 million from the Rainy Day Fund to reduce health-care cost increases facing retirees starting in January under the TRS-Care health plan. TRS-Care participants under age 65 would […]

Coming Up at the State Capitol: Vouchers in House Committee, School Funding on House Floor

The House Calendars Committee meets Sunday, July 30, to set the House floor schedule of bills to be voted on next week, but we already have some idea of what to expect both in committee action and on the floor. (The Senate in the meantime may not do much further business until late next week.) […]

Shifting Momentum at the State Capitol

Some lessons are emerging from the first, Senate-dominated week of the current special legislative session at the state Capitol. Number one:  Strong-arm tactics will only get the governor and lieutenant governor so far. Number two: Counter-pressure works, especially coming from rank-and-file education employees and retirees and friends of public education. Certainly Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick […]

Bad Bills in Texas Senate on Vouchers, Payroll Deduction Meet Bipartisan Resistance

Over the weekend and on Monday, bad bills in the Texas Senate promoting private-school vouchers and attacking your freedom to use payroll deduction met serious bipartisan resistance from grass-roots Texans. So did other measures, including an unfunded pay-raise proposal that would not deliver a real raise to teachers. Meanwhile, in the Texas House, opposition to […]

Texas Senate Sets 16 Bills for Monday Votes, Including Vouchers and Ban on Payroll Deduction

After a long weekend of rapid-fire hearings on a mostly awful array of bills, the Senate floor-vote calendar for Monday, July 24, lists 16 items of legislation, including private-school vouchers and a ban on payroll deduction for teachers and other public employees. The next Hotline will catch you up on the weekend hearings, especially the […]