Five advocacy actions to support public education.
The Christian Advocacy Committee welcomed Cameron Vickrey of Pastors for Texas Children to an open Zoom session on Wednesday, Feb. 24, to share legislative priorities for the current Texas legislative session. The following are recommended actions we can all take in support of public education.
• Advocacy Action Point 1: State funding of public schools is tied to each district’s average daily attendance and enrollment. Despite significant efforts by districts, both have suffered due to COVID-19. A Texas Education Agency policy called Hold Harmless allows funding to be based on pre-pandemic averages. Contact TEA Commissioner Mike Morath (email@example.com) and Texas Governor Greg Abbott (gov.texas.gov/contact) and encourage them to extend the Hold Harmless agreement.
• Advocacy Action Point 2: CARES Act funding from December has not yet been allocated to districts. Contact the TEA and encourage them to process December funds. Keep an eye on upcoming additional CARES funding and advocate for it to be processed through the state budget where local entities can have more control.
• Advocacy Action Point 3: Watch for possible legislation that would move the approval process for charter school expansion from the TEA commissioner to the State Board of Education, providing a more democratic process.
• Advocacy Action Point 4: Accountability. Watch for discussion of how 2021 STAAR testing results will be used and if the data will be used to penalize districts.
• Advocacy Action Point 5: Watch for “school choice” bills and remember that language can be deceiving. School choice within a district (magnet schools, schools of innovation) is different from school choice within the state (charter school expansion, vouchers for private school).