April 22, 2022: Time to pump up your activism with upcoming hearings and elections; Tuesday is for Texting

House committee embarks on interim charges in Tuesday hearing on immigration impacts and investments related to Russia

The House Public Education Committee will be looking at the impacts immigrants have on schools and reports on investments in Russia by public education funds when it meets Tuesday morning to start its work on interim charges. Education Commissioner Mike Morath will address these issues and likely others in an “update on public education.”

Now would be a great time to start developing your activist chops by submitting comments to the committee on these issues at the Texas House Portal. (Look for “Public Education April 26, 2022” under the “Comments regarding/Bills and Topics” section.) Our message: keep our focus on increasing funding for schools and educators, not culture war issues that distract us from the mission of educating our students.

In the following months, the committee will have hearings on what likely will be a focus in the next session: so-called “parental rights” and strategies for teacher recruitment and retention. Texas AFT already has done the groundwork for how we keep teachers in the classroom with our in-depth look at the need for respect, higher salaries, and more manageable workloads in our joint report with Every TexanThe Lost Decade: Texas schools are underfunded and facing devastating staffing shortages.

Join other school employees and parents for a weekly Text Mixer to win the May 24 runoffs!

This week, we’re joined by Jessica Cisneros and Diana Martinez Alexander, both candidates for U.S. Congress.

Jessica Cisneros is a human rights attorney running for Congress in District 28, stretching from southeast San Antonio to Laredo to McAllen. She believes in strengthening our public schools and will fight for stocked classrooms and well-paid teachers.

Diana Martinez Alexander is a Houston community organizer running for Congress in District 38, stretching from far west Houston to parts of Cypress. As a former educator, Diana knows the necessity of well-funded schools and is a strong believer in academic freedom in the classroom.

Jessica and Diana are both fighting to secure their spot in the November general election by winning the May 24 primary runoffs.

Our kids need passionate, permanent teachers in their classrooms! To retain them, we need representatives at every level who will respect and support educator needs—including a dignified retirement and a debt-free education. Both of those issues can be tackled at a federal level, and we need to send folks to Congress willing to take them on!

Just bring your favorite drink and a charged phone or laptop and join us on Zoom. Sign up here. Whoever sends the most texts by May 24 will receive a $100 gift card!

FYI: The Texas Primary Runoff Election is on Tuesday, May 24, and the deadline to register to vote is Monday, April 25. The deadline to request a ballot by mail is Tuesday, April 26, but you should request your ballot as soon as possible to allow time for processing and mailing.

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Early voting begins Monday for May 7 local and state amendment elections

Early voting begins Monday, April 25, and runs through Tuesday, May 3, for the May 7 local and state ballot elections.

Many communities across Texas will hold local elections—including for school boards. But all registered Texans will have a choice to vote on two proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution that address school property tax reductions and exemptions.

TEA wants your ‘customer satisfaction’ input

The Texas Education Agency has launched its 2022 “Customer Satisfaction Survey” to help inform its strategic planning. The survey will take your input on facilities, staffing,  communications and the TEA website, complaint handling, and how the agency serves the needs of the education community. The deadline to complete the survey is April 29.