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Teach the Vote's Week in Review: Feb. 19, 2016

Teach the Vote
Teach the Vote

Date Posted: 2/19/2016 | Author: Jennifer Mitchell, CAE

We're four days into early voting for the 2016 primaries, and turnout has been high in districts with contested races. The big question to be answered is "Who's doing the voting?" Educators need to head to the polls in large numbers and help elect pro-public education candidates. Read more about the election and other stories making news this week:

ThinkstockPhotos-485333274_VoteEarly voting continues through Friday, Feb. 26. Election day is March 1.

ATPE and Teach the Vote offer a number of resources to help voters get to the polls and support candidates who will support public education.
  • Wondering if you have to vote for candidates from the same party? Do you know where to go vote? Get answers to frequently asked questions about primary voting here in our "Things You Should Know..." post.
  • Be prepared to answer ballot propositions that will appear on your primary ballot. These measures will shape the platforms of the Republican and Democratic parties, and one proposition is aimed at taking away educators' right to use payroll deduction for their voluntary professional membership dues. Get informed by reading our recent blog post and be prepared to stand up for educators when you cast your vote on these ballot propositions.
  • We can't emphasize enough that educators need to get out and vote now, because numerous races will be decided by the primaries. Educators cannot afford to wait until November to make their voices heard. Find out if you live in a district where the winner will be chosen now instead of in November.
  • ATPE State President Cory Colby shows off his brand new ATPE State President Cory Colby shows off his brand new "I Voted" sticker! Visit ATPE's Facebook page to view pictures of our members getting out to the polls during early voting. You can be featured, too! Send your "I Voted" selfies to ATPE via Facebook.
  • Most of all, make sure you have learned where your candidates stand on public education. Click on the 2016 Races button now to search for candidates and view their voting records, responses to the ATPE candidate survey, and more.
Is your school district participating in the efforts by the Texas Educators Vote coalition to help get school employees to the polls during early voting? We invite you to email us and share your success stories with us. We'd love to let others know about how educators in your school district are turning out the vote in large numbers to make a difference in 2017. For additional resources, check out TexasEducatorsVote.com.

ThinkstockPhotos-97653570-USCapAfter working for almost a year to write and pass the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Congress has turned its focus to oversight, ensuring the U.S. Department of Education (ED) implements the law in the way lawmakers intended. As we reported previously on Teach the Vote, the U.S. House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education kicked off the process last week, when it held the first oversight hearing on Capitol Hill. The U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) quickly followed, announcing on Tuesday that the committee would hold a hearing next week entitled, "ESSA Implementation in States and School Districts: Perspectives from Education Leaders." The Senate hearing will take place Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 9:00 AM CST and will be live-streamed here. Also next week, the U.S. House is expected to hold its second ESSA hearing. The U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold a hearing entitled, “Next Steps for K-12 Education: Upholding the Letter and Intent of the Every Student Succeeds Act” on Thursday, Feb. 25. Acting Secretary of Education Dr. John King will testify at that hearing on ESSA implementation. King will also be before the same committee on Wednesday Feb. 24, to testify on President Obama’s budget proposal. That hearing is entitled, “Examining the Policies and Priorities of the U.S. Department of Education.” Both U.S. House hearings will begin at 9:00 AM CST and can be viewed live here. Look for recaps of these hearings later on Teach the Vote.

Today, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) released accreditation statuses for school districts and charter schools for the 2015-16 school year. Accreditation statuses reflect both academic and financial accountability measures, along with additional factors. TEA reported that 97 percent of the state's 1,205 school districts and charters received a full "Accredited" status. TEA noted that 13 school districts and 5 charter schools received an Accredited-Warned status, indicating academic or financial problems that need to be addressed. There are four school districts with an Accredited-Probation status for 2015-16; those districts have shown deficiencies over multiple years. Six school districts received a "Not Accredited-Revoked" status for 2015-16; some of those remain pending while appeals are pursued. The 2015-16 accreditation status for each school district and charter school can be found on the TEA website. TEA also announced on Wednesday that it has launched a new website aimed at providing free and instant resources for educators, students and parents to use in enhancing classroom instruction. To learn more about the Texas Gateway or explore the available resources, visit Texasgateway.org. Read our full story on the post here.

Kate Kuhlmann Kate Kuhlmann ATPE Lobbyist Kate Kuhlmann reported this week on the demise of a high-profile private school voucher bill in Tennessee. Vouchers are a central issue, of course, in the ongoing Texas primary elections. Voucher votes in the Texas House have come down to a single vote in recent years, although the Texas Senate actually passed a voucher bill last session. That bill died in the House, thanks to pro-public education representatives keeping it off the floor. Will vouchers pass or fail in 2017? Much depends on the outcomes of Republican primary races being decided now. Read more here.

Don't forget about these opportunities next week to sit down with others in your community to talk about education. CPS square logoThe Coalition for Public Schools (CPS) is hosting gatherings to discuss the value of public education and how communities can get involved to support public schools. ATPE is a member of the coalition. Next week are CPS events in Corsicana on Monday, Feb. 22, in Cleburne on Tuesday, Feb. 23, and in Texarkana on Wednesday, Feb. 24. Both lunchtime and evening meetings are being held. Find additional information and registration links here. These events are great opportunities to talk about the importance of voting for pro-public education candidates during the primary election happening now. Remind fellow attendees about the great voting resources available here on Teach the Vote.

ThinkstockPhotos-523002181_IVotedDon't forget to get out this weekend and VOTE!


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