Topic: Privatization

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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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 both versions, charter holders could self-authorize the creation of satellite...

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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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Private-School Voucher Proposals in Committee This Week

Two House bills and one Senate bill coming up for hearings this week would put the state of Texas in the voucher business: sending taxpayer dollars to private entities providing educational and related services to students. HB 1115 by Rep. Ken Paxton, Republican of McKinney, would provide a tax break to businesses that fund “scholarships” for students to use at...

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Federal Budget Bills for 2011, 2012 Are Education Battlegrounds

Speaking of bad policy, the compromise budget deal approved by Congress yesterday will extend funding for a private-school voucher program in the nation’s capital city. This program was started as a pilot under the administration of President George W. Bush. The U.S. Department of Education’s evaluation of the pilot program found no evidence that the voucher option produced superior performance....

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Charter-School Expansion Bill Passes in Texas Senate, With Diminished Support

A 24-to-7 state Senate vote for charter-school expansion today shows a decline in support for charter expansion since the 30-to-1 approval of a similar bill in 2009. The bill is SB 127 by Sen. Dan Patrick, Republican of Houston. It authorizes charter holders to create new campuses under the same charter without prior approval from the state, and it allows...

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Tell Congress to Vote No on Vouchers in the Nation’s Capital

The U.S. House of Representatives is on a backwards course to resuscitate a private-school voucher program that has been shown to be ineffective. Why should we let them do it again? Tell your Representative to oppose private school vouchers in Washington, D.C. The Washington, D.C. voucher program was a five-year pilot program that expired in 2008.  Despite overwhelming evidence that...

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Taking a Stand for Educational Quality, Employee Safeguards, Innovation

In the Senate Education and House Public Education Committees today Texas AFT's legislative team defended state standards of educational quality and employee safeguards from multiple attacks—while making the case for strong employee involvement and leadership in experiments with innovative practices. Texas AFT testified against a dangerous bill heard in the Senate committee (SB 738) that would allow "alternative methods of...

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Setting the Table: Texas Senate Education Committee Makes Proposals for 2011 Session

The Texas Senate Education Committee, chaired by Plano Republican Sen. Florence Shapiro, has come out with a wish list of policy changes that Shapiro can be expected to seek in the 2011 session of the legislature. Not all of them have the full backing of her committee members, however. Controversial recommendations include: --Removing the cap on the number of charters...

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Not Waiting for Superman

The much-hyped movie “Waiting for Superman” has been the focus this week of a media campaign that scapegoats teachers and their unions for all the ills of the nation’s schools, while portraying the operators of select charter schools and self-designated “school reformers” as heroes.  Read More

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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 "Waiting for Superman," does get a couple of things right,...

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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 Rep. Rob Eissler, Republican of The Woodlands) yielded a familiar...

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