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Teach the Vote's Week in Review: Dec. 17, 2021

Teach the Vote
Teach the Vote

Educator Preparation | Certification Retirement | TRS | Social Security Texas Legislature Congress | Federal COVID-19 Elections Curriculum | Instruction

Date Posted: 12/17/2021

Happy holidays! The ATPE Governmental Relations team recaps this week’s education news, legislative updates, and regulatory developments. The ATPE state office will be closed from Dec. 20-31, 2021.

ELECTIONS: The deadline for candidates to file for a place on a primary election ballot in Texas was Monday, Dec. 13. It may still take some time to develop a full picture of who is running, as counties and state party chairs have until Dec. 21 to report their filing data. Here are some important dates for the 2022 primary election:

  • Jan. 1, 2022 – First day to apply for a ballot by mail
  • Jan. 31 – Last day to register to vote
  • Feb. 14 – First day of early voting ♥
  • Feb. 18 – Last day an application for a ballot by mail can be received
  • Feb. 25 – Last day of early voting
  • March 1 – Primary Election Day
Texas recently passed redistricting legislation, which means you may be in a new district when you go to vote next time. To find out how your district maps have changed, check out this resource from the Texas Tribune, along with their tracking of interesting primary election lineups. See all the candidates who have filed to run in your districts here on the Secretary of State’s website.
Texas races are often decided by the outcomes of the primary elections, and redistricting has made many Texas seats even less competitive, making it all the more important that you vote in March.  Stay tuned to Teach the Vote in January when ATPE will be posting our profiles of all the candidates for Texas House and Senate, State Board of Education (SBOE), and select statewide offices, including responses to the ATPE Candidate Survey.

CARES: Williamson County officials have decided to send some of that county’s unspent funds from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to local school districts, However, the county commissioners said this week they are waiting to distribute any money to Leander ISD and Round Rock ISD while they address concerns over whether the districts are teaching critical race theory or housing “X-rated” books.

Shannon HolmesATPE Executive Director Shannon Holmes said in a statement Wednesday the Commissioners Court should not withhold these emergency relief funds from districts over unrelated, ongoing discussions about school libraries. “Like the state-level elected officials who started this round of the culture wars, the Williamson County commissioners have succumbed to temptation, seizing an opportunity to make headlines in advance of the 2022 elections,” said Holmes, adding, “Their actions do not serve the students or voters of Williamson County.” Read more in this this reporting from the Austin American-Statesman.

SBEC: The State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) met last Friday to close out the year with an extensive agenda, which included several rulemaking actions that would implement bills passed during the 2021 legislative sessions. ATPE Lobbyist Andrea Chevalier testified before SBEC to support changes to the board’s contract abandonment rules and share feedback on the EdTPA pilot. Read more about the Dec. 10 meeting and ATPE’s testimony in this blog post by Chevalier.
Related: The third episode of The ATPE Podcast features a discussion with ATPE Managing Attorney Paul Tapp on “The Great (Teacher) Resignation.” Listen here to learn about the ins and outs of resigning.


David PoreCONGRESS: ATPE’s federal contract lobbyist David Pore wrote a comprehensive update this week on important legislation in Congress and the partisanship that is getting in the way of progress. Though Congress was able to work together recently to pass a large infrastructure bill and avoid a government shutdown, Biden’s education-friendly but extremely partisan “Build Back Better” plan has passed the House but faces an uphill battle in the Senate. Partisanship has affected the prospects of passing legislation to repeal and replace the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) in Social Security law, as well. Read more in this blog post by Pore. ATPE members can also write to their lawmakers about pending legislation with our quick and easy tools on Advocacy Central (ATPE member login required).


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