On the eve of the July 18 special session of the Legislature called by Gov. Greg Abbott, you have a chance to join educators and friends of public schools from across Texas on the south steps of the state Capitol and let lawmakers know what really ought to be on their agenda. The rally is sponsored by Texans for Public Education. It is set for 1:30 PM on Monday, July 17. Featured speakers will include: Charles Foster Johnson, leader of Pastors for Texas Children; Theresa Trevino, presidents of Texans Advocating for Meaningful Student Assessment (TAMSA); and Texas AFT President Louis Malfaro. (You can see the Facebook event post here.)
The governor’s proposed agenda is mostly a matter of distractions and diversions, along with at best a few hollow gestures on what should be paramount priorities for state legislators. The governor and his ally Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick want to issue state edicts overriding local districts’ discretion on which bathrooms transgender children may use, mandate use of scarce taxpayer dollars to subsidize unaccountable private schools, and override decisions on revenue and policy best left to local voters and the local officials they elect.
Meanwhile, these two state officials pay only lip service to the need for increased school funding, better pay and benefits for education employees and retirees, and the easing of burdens on the local taxpayers they have left footing the bill for public schools. Adding insult to injury, the governor and lieutenant governor want to use this special session to silence educators’ voices on all these issues by eliminating their freedom to pay dues to the union or employee association of their choice via payroll deduction.
But school employees and retirees will not be silenced, and the July 17 rally will serve notice that they intend to be a sustained presence at the Capitol until the real needs of students and educators and taxpayers are met. Come to the rally on July 17 and make your voice heard!