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House Committees on Public Education and Higher Education Convene for Marathon 12-Hour Hearing

Tree-lined walkway leading to the Texas Capitol building

Texas AFT member Rebekah Ozuna (left) testifies late in the evening at the joint committee hearing This Tuesday, the House Committee on Public Education and the House Committee on Higher Education held a joint hearing to discuss solutions to the teacher retention crisis. The marathon hearing lasted 12 hours and included 14 panels of invited testimony discussing the teacher recruitment...

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In House Hearing, Texas AFT Opposes SB 4 on Teacher Evaluation

SB 4, the bill by Republican Sen. Florence Shapiro to revamp teacher evaluation, received little support when presented this morning in the House Public Education Committee by Rep. Rob Eissler, Republican of The Woodlands. Texas AFT, three other state teacher organizations, and other groups such as the Texas Association of...

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School Finance: Not a Done Deal

Each day this week we have heard that the Senate is about to vote on SB 22, the school-finance bill by Republican Sen. Florence Shapiro of Plano that would implement budget cuts reducing state aid to school districts by $4 billion over the 2012-2013 budget cycle. But each day the...

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Charter Schools: Expansion Bill Examined

Texas AFT opposed a bill in the House Public Education Committee Thursday morning that would allow wide-open expansion of charter schools in Texas. The proposed House committee substitute for the bill, SB 127 by Republican Sen. Dan Patrick of Houston, would be even more expansive than the Senate version. Under...

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Test-Driven Accountability: Changes Needed

Texas AFT testified today in the Texas Senate on HB 500, a bill by Rep. Rob Eissler, Republican of The Woodlands, that would make some modest changes in the state’s test-driven accountability system. The bill would scale down the number of end-of-course exams a student would have to pass in...

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“Mandate Relief” Bills Still Snagged

HB 400, the bill to gut class-size caps, authorize teacher pay cuts and unpaid furloughs, and undercut contract protections, was knocked off the House agenda again today because of a procedural error. That’s the third time this ill-conceived bill has been forced back to committee for correction of errors. But...

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Education-Jobs Funding Distribution

Congratulations are due to U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, Democrat of Austin, for seeing to it that federal Education Jobs Act funds will be used, as Congress intended, as a supplement to the state’s education spending rather than a substitute for state aid. The Texas Education Agency has announced the allocation...

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House-Senate Budget Negotiators Named

Ten Texas lawmakers will have a big say in the future of your students, your school, and your job. They are the so-called “conferees” named to negotiate a deal on the state budget for 2012-2013. The five House members appointed by House Speaker Joe Straus on Friday are:  Republicans Jim...

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Another Voucher Bill Needs Your Attention

SB 1847 by Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., Democrat of Brownsville, would provide a new version of private-school vouchers, via state tax credits for businesses that fund private-school scholarships for students transferring from public to private schools. Texas AFT legislative counsel Patty Quinzi stated our strong opposition to this bill in...

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School-Finance Bill Still to be Voted On

Thanks are due to all of you who have been in touch with your senators in opposition to SB 22, the school-finance bill that would perpetuate deep cuts in public education far beyond the 2012-2013 budget cycle. Please keep it up! Use that toll-free Texas AFT line to the capitol...

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