House to hold hearings on hurricane issues; State submits plan to feds; Voter Registration Day!

Texas House to Hold Hearings on Hurricane-Impact Issues:  Three Texas House committees are expected to conduct hearings soon on issues arising from Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath. On October 2 in Houston, the Appropriations Committee will meet to take stock of federal and state funding available for relief and recovery. On October 4, also in Houston, the Natural Resources Committee will consider infrastructure impacts and needs, including new flood-mitigation efforts. We are also advised that the Public Education Committee likely will convene a hearing in Austin on October 12 to inventory costs suffered by school districts and to weigh appropriate state action to relieve any unintended punitive consequences under the state accountability system for students and districts hit by Hurricane Harvey.

State Education Plan Submitted to Feds:  The Texas Education Agency sent its state plan for implementing the federal Every Student Succeeds Act to the U.S. Department of Education on Monday, September 25. We will be reviewing and reporting to you on the plan to see how TEA responded to comments on the rough draft that was posted over the summer. We will be especially on the lookout for any indications of increased willingness to take advantage of the opportunities for innovation—for instance, by moving away from the state’s excessive reliance on the results of standardized state exams to gauge academic progress.

Disaster Relief Needed from Texas to Florida to Puerto Rico to the Virgin Islands: As Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands cope with major devastation in the wake of a third hurricane, AFT and three local AFT unions on the islands are making every effort to get in touch with all AFT members there to check on them and see what they need. And just as AFT’S 1.7 million members are doing in Texas, Florida, and the other areas hit by these hurricanes, we will help them rebuild. Show your solidarity by donating to the AFT Disaster Relief Fund.

National Voter Registration Day:  We mark the occasion of National Voter Registration Day by noting two useful online sources you can consult regarding voting rights in Texas:  the elections page maintained by the Texas Secretary of State at http://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/ and the informative site provided by the League of Women Voters of Texas at http://www.lwvtexas.org/.