Some of the major impacts of Hurricane Harvey for public education are coming into sharper focus in a Texas Senate hearing under way in Houston today. The Senate Education Committee has heard from Commissioner of Education Mike Morath that a new wave of displacement soon will occur for 60,000 students whose families are about to run out of their federal disaster-housing allowances and will have to leave their hotel rooms for some alternative shelter. Superintendents from affected areas reminded the committee that their teachers and staff have been making heroic efforts to give their students a sense of stability and normalcy at school, even as educators and students alike deal with the aftermath of the disaster at home.
Texas AFT legislative counsel Patty Quinzi will be advising the committee later today that the high stakes attached to the state’s accountability exams should be suspended for the students, schools, and districts that have borne the brunt of this disaster. Her testimony also will highlight the ongoing efforts of Texas AFT members and staff to help colleagues and students and their families cope with the traumatic after-effects.