At our press conference at the Capitol this past Tuesday, Rep. Gina Hinojosa announced that she would be filing a bill that would ensure that all teachers across the state received a $10,000 salary increase. Teachers in Texas currently make significantly less than the national average, so this across-the-board increase would make Texas schools more competitive in attracting and retaining qualified educators. Texas AFT is working with legislators to file bills that would guarantee raises for non-certified education employees, like HB 991 by Rep. Terry Meza, which would guarantee a $15 minimum wage for school bus drivers.
Many other bills have already been filed that relate to Texas AFT’s Respect Pledge, including:
- HCR 20 by Abel Herrero (D-Robstown) would call on the U.S. Congress to repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO), which significantly cut into retired educators’ social security.
- HB 529 by Ernest Bailes (R-Shepherd) would restrict the TEA such that they could only appoint an individual to the board of managers of a charter school if that individual fulfills all the requirements to be elected as school district trustee, including that they must be a qualified Texas voter and serve without compensation.
- HB 83 by Erin Zwiener (D-Driftwood) would allow school districts to use a writing portfolio assessment to assess writing performances as an alternative to the certain reading and English STAAR tests.
- SB 248 by Carol Alvarado (D-Houston) and HB 45 by Christina Morales (D-Houston) would add ethnic studies, including Mexican American and African American studies, to the foundation curriculum requirements.
- SB 170 by César Blanco (D-El Paso) would require an instant criminal background check for certain private firearm transfers.
- SB 113 by Jose Menéndez (D-San Antonio) and HB 98 by Joe Moody (D-El Paso) would allow school districts to contract with local mental health authorities to provide students with mental health services. School districts could enroll as medicaid providers, such that they could provide and receive reimbursements for students who are medicaid recipients.