Topic: Vouchers

Legacy of the 2011 Legislature: Needless Harm to Students, Teachers, and Schools

Linda Bridges, president of Texas AFT, the 65,000-strong Texas branch of the American Federation of Teachers, offered this observation Wednesday in a press statement marking the end of the special legislative session that began May 31: The governor, lieutenant governor, and House speaker in this year’s regular and special sessions have led a shameful retreat from the state’s financial commitment...

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House Hearing Promotes Unpaid Furloughs, Attacks Minimum Salary Schedule, Pushes Vouchers

Texas AFT and allies fought three bad bills in the Texas House Government Reform and Efficiency Committee on Monday evening. HB 17 by Rep. Bill Callegari, Republican of Katy, would eliminate current pay floors in state law for teachers, counselors, nurses, librarians, and speech pathologists, save for a $27,320 minimum allowable annual salary. Texas AFT member Chrisdya Houston, from our...

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Attacks on Class-Size Caps and on Contract Safeguards Get Committee Okay in Texas House

Repeated attempts by Rep. Rob Eissler, Republican of The Woodlands, to pass a broad attack on class-size limits, contract safeguards, and salary standards failed in the regular 2011 legislative session. Opposition from parents, educators, and concerned citizens reinforced resistance from many House members, who blocked Eissler’s HB 400 and equivalent bills. Now Eissler is trying to pass his package of...

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Attack on Texas Classrooms Expands

New legislation to make permanent, adverse changes in class-size limits, state pay standards, and contract safeguards for educators was filed today in the Texas House by Rep. Rob Eissler, Republican of The Woodlands. Eissler’s HB 8 mounts an even broader attack on Texas classrooms than does SB 8, a similar bill by Sen. Florence Shapiro, Republican of Plano. Eissler’s bill...

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Charter Takeover of Neighborhood Schools Defeated

On Tuesday morning a valid point of order by Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, Democrat of San Antonio, forced the withdrawal of legislation that would have authorized private charter operators to take over neighborhood public schools. Though scaled down to affect only Bexar County (San Antonio area), this proposal by Rep. Mike Villarreal, also a San Antonio Democrat, would have established...

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Wheels Come Off Main Vehicle for Bad Education Amendments in Texas House

SB 1581, a broad “fiscal matters” bill containing the Senate majority’s school-finance plan and other education measures, fell to a point of order in the Texas House Monday evening. The bill was about to be loaded up with scores of amendments, including yet another attempt to gut class-size caps, eliminate the state’s salary standards for teachers, and nullify long-established contract...

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After Surprise Attack, Resistance Mounts to Charter Conversion of Neighborhood Schools

On Saturday Rep. Mike Villarreal, Democrat of San Antonio, thought he could bypass resistance to his proposal to convert neighborhood campuses into charter schools.  Just one day after assuring Texas AFT and others that he would not offer such an amendment to SB 738, on Saturday afternoon he did exactly that, without notice of his change of heart. By Monday...

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Bad Bills Looking to Hitch a Ride

It’s that time of the legislative session—the last seven or eight days—when many a bill dies unless it can hitch a ride on another bill that already has made it further along over the legislative obstacle course. Into the “watch out for these dangerous hitchhikers” category we place the following bills opposed by Texas AFT: --SB 127, the bill by...

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Battle Stations! Private-School Vouchers Plus Attacks on Class-Size Caps, Pay Standards, and Contract Safeguards Are on House Agenda Tomorrow—Call Your State Rep!

We face at least two major battles on the House floor tomorrow. Battle number one—class size, salaries, contracts: The most comprehensively bad bill of the current state legislative session, HB 400, may have died last Thursday as a freestanding bill, but it is being resurrected tomorrow (Wednesday, May 18) as a House floor amendment to each of two broad budget-related...

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Battle Stations! Major Bills on House Floor Wednesday Could Attract Ugly Amendments

We stopped HB 400 last Thursday, but pieces of that bill and other bad ideas for balancing the budget at the expense of students and teachers are expected to reappear when the House takes up two broad Senate bills, SB 1811 and SB 1581, on Wednesday. Just about anything relating to the budget—so-called “fiscal matters”—can be attached to these bills....

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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 the Senate Finance Committee today. She noted: “This bill is...

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