Texas AFT Round-Up: Yes, charter schools impact you; The STAAR test on trial, deals on summer travel, and more!

 

Charters face scrutiny at Capitol. Tell lawmakers we need a TIMEOUT for charter school expansion!



Write your legislators now!

Yes, charter schools have significant impacts on those of you teaching in public schools, and those negative impacts are growing with rampant expansion of charter chains across the state. Charters schools drain our public schools of resources (often millions of dollars lost), cost the state billions of dollars, are ripe for corruption and profiteering, and lack the transparency the public deserves for their tax dollars.

Yesterday at the Capitol, the House Public Education Committee heard some 20 bills seeking more accountability, transparency and overall regulation of charter schools–including a bill that would require a real assessment of financial and logistical impacts to school districts when charters plan to open nearby. Texas AFT was their strongly urging passage of these bills, as well as calling for a Timeout for Charters until significant reform is enacted.


Yes, you still have to deal with STAAR this year, but some lawmakers wants to put the test on pause

Lawmakers in Austin have gotten an earful this year from educators, parents and researchers who have told them that the STAAR reading tests are above the grade level intended. (And they’ve heard plenty of other testimony on the harm done to students by the test, the continued drill and kill of test prep, and the misuse of test scores for teacher evaluations and compensation.)

So proposed bills are looking at an audit of the STAAR test, including HB 4242 by Rep. Diego Bernal, which would require an independent evaluation of the test’s readability to evaluate if it is at the intended grade level. Bernal wants to put the misuse of the test on pause if it is found to be invalid. Sen. Jose Menendez also has a bill, SB 2400, calling for a moratorium on the test.

 


Member Benefits: Take off money when you take off on the road!
Texas AFT members can save big bucks on car rentals from several companies at www.unionplus.org. Here’s one deal from Budget:

Save up to 25% off Budget base rates when renting a vehicle from a participating location in the contiguous U.S. and Canada. Book your car now!


Tell Congress to act now to protect DACA teachers

Karen Reyes

Karen Reyes, a proud AFT member, is finishing her fifth year teaching children who are deaf and hard of hearing in Austin, Texas. She’s helping her students on their journey to be able to communicate and achieve their dreams. Not only is she a wonderful teacher, a union activist and a part of her local’s (Education Austin) executive board, she also is a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipient.

Karen is one of the more than 750,000 immigrant young people with DACA status who are contributing and strengthening their communities. She was brought to the United States as a child and has done everything our society has asked of her: She graduated from college, passed a rigorous background check and met the educational requirements to obtain DACA. Despite it all, Karen still lives in fear.

It doesn’t have to be like this. Write Congress and tell your rep and senator to end the fears of millions of immigrants by passing the Dream and Promise Act of 2019 (H.R. 6), the SECURE Act (S. 879), and the DREAM Act (S. 874).


Local unions in action!

Cy-Fair AFT launches a campaign for five-year teacher contracts

 

  • Get involved to make positive change. Our local unions are active in local school board races, and they need your help to elect candidates who will work for our students and school employees. Contact your local union to see how you can help!
  • Cy-Fair AFT has initiated a campaign–“GiveMe5: For our students and those that serve them”–to urge the School Board to give non-probationary teachers a five-year contract, to provide stability and encourage teachers to come to the district.  “We at the union are going to do a big ask for school board trustees, to vote in favor of job stability in the package of a five-year teacher’s contract,” she said. “When you talk about funding, this is something that would cost the district $0 that would be huge to our teachers.” Read more in the Houston Chronicle.
  • El Paso AFT wasn’t happy to find out that a School Board member had lied about being a teacher during their interview with her when she was a candidate. Now, the union has exposed that she told more than one lie.
  • Alliance AFT (our Dallas ISD local) is hosting a screening of the movie, “Backpack Full of Cash,” narrated by actor Matt Damon, which takes the viewers through a journey of exposing the world of corporate-driven education “reform” and charter schools. There will be a brief forum of Alliance-endorsed school board candidates to discuss the impact that charters have had in their individual districts and thoughts on the topic. There is no cost for the event.
  • Corpus Christi AFT was successful in halting a plan to send all district bilingual students to five “host” campuses. The union and its community allies spoke out against the movethat would segregate students, force them out of their neighborhood campuses and cause hardships for their families.
  • The Houston Federation of Teachers held a press conference this week with community allies to oppose any efforts by the Texas Education Agency to takeover Houston ISD. TEA has threatened to replace the Houston School Board with a state-appointed board of managers. Read more here from Houston Public Media.

 


In Case You Missed It:

Our other email publications include “#TxEd in the Media,” a Monday column with commentary and analysis of the top Texas Education stories in the news; “Dear Friends,” a letter from Texas AFT President Louis Malfaro every other Wednesday; and the“Legislative Hotline,” a wrap-up of legislative news each Friday.


About this newsletter

Round-Up is the email newsletter from Texas AFT and is published every two weeks on Wednesdays. You are on this list because you either subscribed, or you were added when you participated in a Texas AFT action campaign and opted in to receive emails. You may unsubscribe at any time with the link below, but we’d love to have you stay so you can remain informed about  our union, public education, and your profession.

Texas American Federation of Teachers represents more than 65,000 teachers, paraprofessionals, support personnel, and higher-education employees across the state. Texas AFT is affiliated with the 1.7-million-member American Federation of Teachers.

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