Legislative Hotline

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November 19, 2021: Members save thousands erasing student loan debt; Locals in high gear with vaccine clinics; Vote in HISD race

Children wearing face masks choose books from a Socorro A-F-T table at a vaccine clinic.

The Hotline will take a break next week for the Thanksgiving holiday and will return on December 3. Local unions kick into high gear with campaigns urging vaccinations at free clinics Texas AFT local unions have been holding dozens of free COVID-19 and flu vaccination clinics the past month, and with shots allowable expanding to aged 5-12 students, they are...

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“Black Box” Value-Added Teacher Appraisal Under Scrutiny in Houston

An October 7 forum sponsored by the Houston Federation of Teachers will try to shine some much-needed light on Houston ISD’s "black box" methodology for statistical modeling of teachers’ effect on student learning, called the Education Value-Added Assessment System (EVAAS). The district is using this controversial methodology for high-stakes decisions...

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Not waiting for Superman

Be forewarned: There’s a documentary coming soon to a movie theater near you that portrays public school teachers and their unions as the villains responsible for low student achievement, while painting charter schools and their promoters as the heroes looking out for the best interests of schoolchildren. This film, entitled...

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State Hearing on School Finance: Ills Acknowledged, Cures Disputed

The state’s Joint Select Committee on School Finance, Weights, Allotments and Adjustments met today with a roster of invited business and academic witnesses chosen to support a specific agenda. Their testimony and responses from several committee members (Sens. Florence Shapiro, Republican of Plano, Sen. Dan Patrick, Republican of Houston, and...

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Texas AFT Defends Budgets for Children’s Health Care, Higher-Ed Health Benefits

Texas AFT's Ted Melina Raab testified at two more Legislative Budget Board hearings today, this time in defense of children's health care and higher-education health benefits. He noted Texas AFT's longstanding commitment to the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and to Medicaid funding for children. "Our day-to-day experience has taught...

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Hispanic Heritage Month

The American Federation of Teachers once again has put together a package of educational resources relating to Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated from September 15 through October 15. You'll find the materials online at http://www.aft.org/yourwork/tools4teachers/hispanic/index.cfm.

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Texas AFT Testifies Against Education Cuts in State Budget Plan

Traditionally ahead of the biennial legislative session the staffs of the Legislative Budget Board and the governor’s budget office get together to review spending requests from state agencies. This year agencies have been directed by the governor and legislative leaders to chop 10 percent from their already lean baseline budget...

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Presidential Back-to-School Address Sounds Traditional Themes

President Barack Obama’s annual back-to-school speech, delivered in Philadelphia and made available for showing in schools nationwide, must have disappointed anyone who expected a partisan approach. The president exhorted students to "dream big," "work hard," and "stay focused on your education." Do those things, he said, and "your future is...

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