TASA Legislative Priorities

September 1904:38 AM

During the 86th session of the Texas Legislature, TASA will support or initiate legislation that aligns with the association’s priorities and work with other associations and groups to advocate for the following priorities. A cornerstone priority of TASA members is local control and flexibility, as school districts must be able to respond to the differing needs of students, educators, parents, and communities they serve. view article arw

Today the pro-public education Texas Parent PAC announces its endorsement of 54 legislative candidates in the November 6 general election. The endorsed candidates are a diverse collection of mature, proven leaders who seek to make Texas a better state, said PAC Chair Carolyn Boyle of Austin. They will be strong advocates for public education at the state Capitol. view article arw

TO ALL TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME: WHEREAS, I, GREG ABBOTT, Governor of the State of Texas, issued a disaster proclamation on August 23, 2017, certifying that Hurricane Harvey posed a threat of imminent disaster for Aransas, Austin, Bee, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Colorado, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Gonzales, Harris, Jackson, Jefferson, Jim Wells, Karnes, Kleberg, Lavaca, Liberty, Live Oak, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria, Waller, Wharton, and Wilson counties view article arw

House Bill 1638 (85th Legislature, Regular Session), as codified in Texas Education Code, Section 28.009 (b-1) and (b-2), requires the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to collaboratively develop statewide goals for dual credit programs in Texas. These goals provide guidance to institutions of higher education (IHEs) and independent school districts (ISDs) on components that must be in place to ensure quality dual credit programs are provided to Texas high school students. These statewide goals address enrollment in and acceleration through postsecondary education, performance in college-level coursework, and strong academic advising. view article arw

House Bill 1638 (85th Legislature, Regular Session), as codified in Texas Education Code, Section 28.009 (b-1) and (b-2), requires the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to collaboratively develop statewide goals for dual credit programs in Texas. These goals provide guidance to institutions of higher education (IHEs) and independent school districts (ISDs) on components that must be in place to ensure quality dual credit programs are provided to Texas high school students. These statewide goals address enrollment in and acceleration through postsecondary education, performance in college-level coursework, and strong academic advising. view article arw

Texas Democrats had a chance to limit Republican legislators' power in the state Senate. But with a special election loss this week, they may have cemented it instead.  Dan Patrick has the Texas Senate Bob Bullock always wanted.  And after this week’s special election in South and West Texas put Republican Pete Flores in the Senate, Lt. Gov. Patrick is in a great position to extend his run — assuming that he wins his own reelection bid in November. view article arw

Lewisville ISD officials met with local lawmakers last week to share their ideas of what they would like to see come out of the 86th Texas Legislature, which begins in January. Sen. Jane Nelson and State Reps. Tan Parker and Ron Simmons talked with administrators and school board members to discuss the items outlined in LISD’s recently adopted legislative agenda – accountability, school finance, educational equity and local control. With accountability, LISD has joined other districts across the state in opposing the new A-F ranking system for districts and campuses. District officials say there are a number of concerns with it, including how a grade is determined and that it relies so much on standardized testing. view article arw

The Texas Board of Education recently voted on a number of potential changes to be made to U.S. history and social studies curriculum. As it currently stands, teachers will not be required to teach students about certain political and public figures, such as Hillary Clinton, who was the first female presidential candidate, as well as Helen Keller, who was deaf, blind and graduated from college and later became an activist. view article arw

The Texas House Democratic Caucus has stood with parents, teachers and local property taxpayers in support of adequate funding for our public schools over the years and during the 85th Legislative Session. Although Democrats' repeated attempts to increase funding to our schools have been blocked, we remain committed to this cause for the upcoming 86th Legislative Session. view article arw

TASA has recently submitted public comments or written correspondence on several issues of importance to members. read more arw

Mike Collier, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, said Thursday that if voters choose him over his better-known, better-funded Republican opponent, it will be due to five major policy goals that spell out his hope for bringing compassion back to state policies. Collier also criticized Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, his opponent in the November election, for declining to debate him, stood by claims that Patrick is lying about cutting property taxes and questioned whether Texans are better off under Patrick’s leadership during a free-wheeling discussion sponsored by the Texas Tribune and led by the Tribune’s Evan Smith. view article arw

Dan Patrick’s Cloistered Culture War

September 2008:43 AM

Instead of talking to voters or debating his opponent, Patrick is flying on a private jet, boycotting Nike and trying to score facetime on Fox News.  In late July, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick made a trip to Washington, D.C., to beg White House officials to send President Trump to Texas to shore up support for Ted Cruz’s embattled re-election campaign, which has quickly become one of the most-watched races in the country. view article arw

rivate schools in Florida will collect nearly $1 billion in state-backed scholarships this year through a system so weakly regulated that some schools hire teachers without college degrees, hold classes in aging strip malls and falsify fire-safety and health records.  The limited oversight of Florida’s scholarship programs allowed a principal under investigation for molesting a student at his Brevard County school to open another school under a new name and still receive the money, an Orlando Sentinel investigation found. view article arw

On a Friday this month, around two months before the midterm elections, something curious happened in Texas politics: A prominent Republican endorsed the Democrat challenging a GOP incumbent for office. Later that day, it happened again. The cross-party endorsements made on Sept. 14 by Republicans Jerry Patterson and Bennett Ratliff — the former Texas land commissioner and an ex-state lawmaker, respectively — are just the latest examples this cycle of what has historically been considered a rare political move. And it raises the question of whether those endorsements are a sign of shifting party loyalties during an election year that appears to favor Democrats — or just the actions of former politicians with a bone to pick with former rivals. In a number of cases, some political observers say, an argument can be made that it’s both. view article arw

Recently Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath appeared before a state budget panel to lay out the Texas Education Agency’s budget request through 2021. In his testimony, Commissioner Morath projected a drop in the state’s general revenue request for public education by more than $3.5 billion for the next biennium due to increasing revenue from local property taxes. Local property values are expected to grow by about 6.8 percent statewide the next couple of years and existing state statute requires the state to use that money first before factoring in state funding. view article arw

A group of students at Elgin Middle School say they are prepared for when they one day become voters thanks to visits from all three party nominees running to be our state's next governor. The Civics and Constitution class at Elgin Middle School met with Republican Kevin Stitt and Libertarian Chris Powell Tuesday, after meeting with Democrat Drew Edmondson in August. The students said they have learned a lot and thanked their teacher for making it happen and preparing them for the future. view article arw

Democrat Gallego has conceded to Flores in the race to replace convicted former state Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, in a Democratic-leaning district. Flores will become the first Hispanic Republican to serve in the state Senate. view article arw

In a recent commentary published on these pages, Gov. Greg Abbott addressed the need to improve public education in Texas and the need for the state to increase its responsibility for education funding. We could not agree more.  It’s more than two years since the Texas Supreme Court criticized the current public school finance system. It meets the requirement set out in the state constitution, but remains woefully lacking. The more than 5 million students and 1,000 school districts in the state deserve better. view article arw

TO ALL TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME:  I, GREG ABBOTT, Governor of the State of Texas, do hereby certify that the tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico that began on September 7, 2018, and that continues toward the Texas coast, poses a threat of imminent disaster, including severe flooding, widespread and severe property damage, and loss of life in Aransas, Atascosa, Austin, Bandera, Bastrop, Bee, Bexar, Blanco, Brazoria, Brazos, Brooks, Burleson, Burnet, Caldwell, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Colorado, Comal, DeWitt, Dimmitt, Duval, Edwards, Fayette, Fort Bend, Frio, Galveston, Gillespie, Goliad, Gonzales, Grimes, Guadalupe, Harris, Hays, Hidalgo, Jackson, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Karnes, Kendall, Kenedy, Kerr, Kinney, Kleberg, La Salle, Lavaca, Lee, Liberty, Live Oak, Llano, Madison, Matagorda, Maverick, McMullen, Medina, Montgomery, Nueces, Polk, Real, Refugio, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Starr, Travis, Trinity, Uvalde, Val Verde, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Washington, Webb, Wharton, Willacy, Williamson, Wilson, Zapata, and Zavala counties. view article arw

The Lewisville ISD Board of Trustees on Monday approved its legislative agenda for the 86th Texas Legislature, which begins Jan. 8. The agenda focuses on four key topics: accountability, school finance, educational equity and local control.  Within accountability, the district hopes lawmakers will take on the required number of Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards. LISD officials hope the state will prioritize the most important standards to allow for a deeper understanding of the curriculum. view article arw

Though local and national poverty rates are dipping, the percentage of San Antonio’s population in poverty was the second highest among the top 25 largest U.S. metro areas in 2017, new data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows. American Community Survey estimates released Thursday show a 14.5 percent poverty rate for the San Antonio metro area, which includes New Braunfels, placing it second after Detroit (14.6 percent). view article arw

Republican lawmakers in the Texas Senate were sitting pretty last year. For years, the GOP had faced roadblocks to passing some conservative measures by the chamber’s two-thirds rule, which normally required the support of 21 members to get a bill to the floor. With 20 Republicans in the chamber, that left Republicans one short of moving out bills without the help of a single Democrat. But then in 2015, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick led a successful move to lower the threshold from two-thirds to three-fifths. Suddenly, any measure with the backing of all of the chamber’s Republicans had all the support it needed. For that session and the ones that followed in 2017, the GOP effectively ran the Senate floor. view article arw

live broadcast- House Bill 21, 85th Texas Legislature, 1st Called Special Session (2017), established the Texas Commission on Public School Finance to develop and make recommendations for improvements to the current public school finance system or for new methods of financing public schools. view article arw

Link to broadcast- The Senate Education Committee will meet jointly with the Senate Higher Education Committee to take up and consider the following interim charge:   view article arw

Link to broadcast- The Senate Finance Committee will meet on Tuesday, September 11, 2018 at 10:00am to hear invited testimony only on the following interim charges: view article arw

On Monday night, the Lewisville ISD board of trustees approved the district’s 86th legislative priorities, which includes four main categories: accountability, finance, local control and educational equity. The 86th legislative session begins Jan. 8, 2019. view article arw

But the state has tried to hide this, he said. Meanwhile, education funding has dropped as the senate flexes its muscles and pushes for school choice for charters — a topic that has limited value in rural Texas where traditional public schools are, for the most part, the only option — and public funding for private schools.  As for school safety, Collier, a former Republican who switched parties in 2013 after a falling out with party leadership, is in favor of pushing for what he calls common sense gun legislation. And he said he thinks Texans are ready for them, too. view article arw

Longview ISD will host an education summit this week, bringing together school district leaders and Texas legislators to develop policy recommendations before the upcoming legislative session. Superintendent James Wilcox said the event will provide an opportunity for school district leaders to have a “dialogue about what solutions they see for addressing public education funding for Texas schools, educators and students.” view article arw

AUSTIN (KXAN) - This week, the Texas Education Agency released plans to ask lawmakers for less money for Texas public schools. The reason? TEA budget documents project that increases in local property taxes will bring more money to school districts, and allow the state to pay less.  The rising burden on local taxpayers is bringing new attention to proposals to change the system for funding public schools.  view article arw

As Lewisville ISD officials prepare to make their pitch to local lawmakers on what they want to see changed in public education in Texas, the main talking points may look familiar. Accountability, school finance reform, educational equity and local control. But while school leaders say those issues haven't improved over the years, Superintendent Kevin Rogers said he feels optimistic that LISD will make some headway this year.  view article arw

A landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld the legality of Cleveland's school voucher system was cited in emails to and from current Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh released Thursday by New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker. Booker, a potential Democratic presidential candidate who is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the committee's Republicans improperly designated the documents he released as "confidential," when they illuminate Kavanaugh's thinking on hot-button issues like racial profiling and affirmative action. view article arw

A widely respected former state lawmaker, Robert Duncan, now has another “former” position to his name: As of Sept. 1, he’s officially out as chancellor of the Texas Tech University System. Duncan abruptly announced on Aug. 13 that he would retire, explaining only that at 65, it was time to “move on and begin to tackle new challenges.” The surprise decision sent reverberations across Tech System campuses and down Austin’s Congress Avenue — and a cloud of confusion has lingered for weeks over his departure. Former colleagues and Tech supporters, who view Duncan’s ethics as beyond reproach, wondered why he left so suddenly, and whether he had been forced out. view article arw

School Priority Month- October 2018

September 0708:40 AM

School Priority Month is a public education biennium event where school districts across Texas invite locally elected officials from every level of government to visit and experience firsthand the great work taking place in our public schools. view article arw

At a Texas Tribune event this Thursday in Laredo, Reps. Tracy King, D-Batesville, and Richard Peña Raymond, D-Laredo, talked with Tribune CEO Evan Smith about topics that affect the communities they represent in South Texas: the next legislative session, healthcare, border security and more. Here are some of the highlights: One success from 2017, according to Raymond, was the passage of a Child Protective Services reform bill, which received bipartisan support. view article arw