/getmedia/3cc50bb0-649d-4a5a-8d8b-c06cdeb1a78c/230727-TexasTribuneEvent.png?width=1110&height=503&ext=.png /getmedia/3cc50bb0-649d-4a5a-8d8b-c06cdeb1a78c/230727-TexasTribuneEvent.png?width=1110&height=503&ext=.png

Texas Tribune panel examines teacher pay, vouchers, and other top education issues from the 88th Legislature

Teach the Vote
Teach the Vote

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Date Posted: 7/27/2023 | Author: Kate Johanns

The Texas Tribune hosted a panel titled “Where Do Public Schools Go from Here?” on Tuesday, July 25, featuring Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe), chair of the Senate Education Committee; Dallas ISD Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde; North East ISD prekindergarten teacher Laura Herrera, who represents Region 20 ATPE on the ATPE Board of Directors; and Laura Colangelo, executive director of the Texas Private Schools Association. ATPE was an event sponsor. 

Moderated by Tribune education reporter Brian Lopez, the hourlong event looked back at the 88th Legislature’s treatment of public education before pivoting to specific discussion of an anticipated special session on private school vouchers. Not surprisingly, the perspective of panelists varied widely depending on their vantage points and stances on topics.  

Regarding teacher pay, Creighton asserted that education organizations had not been vocal about his Senate Bill (SB) 9, which died on the House floor. He also asserted that it contained a “teacher pay raise,” though in ATPE’s analysis, the additional compensation was a one-time $2,000 stipend for some teachers. Creighton’s argument that was because the Legislature budgets on a biennial basis, “we can’t predict where we will be” beyond that point—yet employees of general state government received an across-the-board pay raise that was not limited to the next biennium. Interestingly, one of the benefits of SB 9 that he mentioned was a resolution by the Texas Legislature encouraging the U.S. Congress to pass Social Security reforms related to the Windfall Elimination Provision—which, while nice to have, is not likely to move Congress to act. 

On the topic of House Bill (HB) 1605, which provides a $40/student financial incentive to districts to use a prescribed state curriculum, Creighton and Elizalde spoke of the bill’s potential to save teachers time in planning lessons—though Herrera pointed out that as a teacher, scripted lesson plans tie her hands. “I’m not a robot,” she said. 

When the discussion turned to vouchers, Creighton spoke of GOP polling indicating demand for education savings accounts. In response, Elizalde said that if there was so much demand, that she would “respectfully request that private school subsidies be legislation that could stand on its own.” “Why hold hostage public school funding if this isn’t in any way to harm public schools?” Elizalde asked. 

The full panel may be viewed on demand: 



Keith McNeal

Senator Creighton was correct. Teacher associations did nothing for teachers. Teachers in Texas likely lost several advocates in the legislature as a result of opposition to supportive legislation.

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