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Legislative Update: ATPE submits testimony to Congress, Prime Prep Academy to close, "School Choice Week" rally fizzles, and more

Teach the Vote
Teach the Vote

Date Posted: 1/30/2015 | Author: Jennifer Mitchell, CAE

As we have been reporting on Teach the Vote, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) is conducting a series of hearings on "Fixing No Child Left Behind." The ongoing discussions are focused on efforts to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Last week, the committee heard from a panel of witnesses about testing and accountability, for which ATPE submitted written testimony. Another hearing, on teachers and school leaders, took place this week, and the committee will convene next Tuesday for a discussion of "Innovation to Better Meet the Needs of Students." Video broadcasts of all the hearings can be found on the committee’s website.

The U.S. House Committee on Education & the Workforce announced that next Wednesday, Feb. 4, it will hold a hearing entitled "Expanding Opportunity in America’s Schools and Workplaces."  Watch the hearing live on the committee's website starting at 10 a.m. EST. Committee Chairman Rep. John Kline (R–MN) also announced new assignments for subcommittees, including the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education.
Gov. Greg Abbott announced this week that he's adding House District 13 to the list of vacant legislative districts scheduled for runoff elections on Feb. 17. That date was already reserved for runoffs in House Districts 17 and 123, plus Senate District 26. The early voting period will run Feb. 9-13. View profiles of the candidates on Teach the Vote.
ATPE members interested in attending our Political Involvement Training and Lobby Day event next month can still register! By popular demand, the original registration deadline of Jan. 29 is being extended through Feb. 4. Lobby Day events will take place on Feb. 22-23 in Austin. Visit the ATPE website for complete details and registration, plus information on housing options.
Texas Education Agency (TEA) officials announced today the recommendation that the troubled Prime Prep Academy charter school be closed and offered transition guidance for affected educators and students. Revocation proceedings have begun this week against three other charter schools, according to the agency. In other news, TEA announced the availability of federal report cards for the state, school districts, and campuses. The report cards are required to be disseminated under the federal ESEA.
"School Choice Week" events took place this week in Austin and other parts of the country. A rally held today on the steps of the Texas State Capitol drew a much smaller crowd than its organizers were hoping when they billed it as the largest school choice rally in Texas history. ATPE Lobbyist Monty Exter was interviewed about school choice by multiple media outlets this week.


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