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Teach the Vote's Week in Review: May 6, 2022

Teach the Vote
Teach the Vote

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Date Posted: 5/06/2022

Happy #TeacherAppreciationWeek! We are proud to advocate for our outstanding public educators. Your ATPE Governmental Relations team recaps the past week’s education news, legislative and election updates, and regulatory developments. Read about ATPE’s advocacy for retired teachers, an important election this weekend, and more.

APPRECIATION: Your ATPE Governmental Relations team wishes a happy Teacher Appreciation Week to all our outstanding educators. Now more than ever, we believe it is important to highlight the incredible impact educators like you have on our students – especially after the challenges we have faced together over the past two years. It is our privilege to advocate for you at the federal and state level, where extremely important debates about public education are ongoing. Thank you for your selfless service and keep up the great work. We love you!

COLA: ATPE urged legislators that “now is the time” to pass a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for retired educators. ATPE Senior Lobbyist Monty Exter testified Wednesday before a meeting of the Senate Finance Committee and highlighted work ATPE and other stakeholders have done in collaboration with elected officials over the past several years with the goal of passing a COLA in 2023. Exter pointed out that the state has multiple funding sources available to deliver a COLA. Read more about the hearing and ATPE’s testimony in this blog post.

LEGISLATURE: In addition to this week’s Senate Finance Committee hearing discussed above, the House Higher Education Committee also met this week. Lawmakers discussed the committee’s interim charge to “review progress toward the goals of the 60x30TX plan, including institutional strategies for responding to changing workforce needs and demands, including workforce education, industry certification, and degree programs to address health care shortages.” Increasing Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers’ pay was one of the topics brought up during the hearing. 

The Senate Higher Education Committee will meet Tuesday, May 10, at 1 p.m. (CDT) to consider some of its interim charges on workforce education, post-secondary enrollment trends, financial aid incentives to increase teacher recruitment, and more.  

The House Public Education Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. (CDT) Tuesday, May 24, to discuss a variety of interim charges. The lengthy agenda includes opportunities for public feedback on accelerated instruction under HB 4545, Reading Academies, and the impacts of COVID-19 on learning loss and students’ mental health.
The Senate Education Committee announced today it also plans to meet May 24 to discuss the COVID-19 impact on the educator pipeline, HB 4545, school bonds, and homestead exemptions from school district property taxes.

ELECTIONS: Saturday, May 7, is Election Day across the state for numerous school board and municipal elections, school bond proposals, and two proposed constitutional amendments on the statewide ballot – both pertaining to property tax exemptions that could affect revenue for public schools. Voters in Texas House Districts 38 and 147 will also be choosing a new state representative in a special election also occurring Saturday. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., so be sure to get out Saturday and vote. Learn more about why the May 7 election is so important in this guest post by ATPE’s Monty Exter published on the Texas Educators Vote coalition’s blog. 
Once the polls close Saturday, the fun doesn’t stop! There are two elections happening in the month of May. Runoffs for the Republican and Democratic party primaries are coming up May 24. Use ATPE’s Teach the Vote candidate search tools to learn more about those vying for the Texas Legislature, State Board of Education, and certain statewide offices, and make your plan now to vote in the runoffs. Early voting for the primary runoffs will begin May 16.

CERTIFICATION: Despite concerns raised by ATPE, educators and scores of other public education stakeholders, the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) passed a new rule last week that will require educator certification candidates to transition from taking the EC-12 Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities (PPR) exam for certification to the edTPA evaluation administered by Pearson. ATPE joined with hundreds of individuals and organizations opposing the rule, pointing to the increased cost to certification candidates at a time when Texas already faces a teacher shortage, plus problems highlighted by other states that have abandoned edTPA. Read more about last week’s SBEC meeting in this post by ATPE Lobbyist Andrea Chevalier.
The State Board of Education (SBOE) has the final say in rules adopted by SBEC and will give the edTPA rule a final review at the SBOE's June meeting. Unlike the governor-appointed SBEC members, SBOE members are elected by voters. That means that they are often more receptive to the concerns of educators like you. You can share your thoughts on edTPA with members of the SBOE by logging into ATPE’s Advocacy Central tool. Please take advantage of this opportunity to make your teacher voice heard!

Related: ATPE’s Andrea Chevalier was guest on KURV 710 News Talk Radio in Harlingen Wednesday to talk about why teachers are leaving the profession and what should be done to address the challenges.


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