The TCTA Representative Assembly approved Legislative Priorities for the 88th Legislative Session at the February 2023 annual convention. While there are many other issues that TCTA will work on to represent our members' interests, this document addresses the top issues we anticipate for this session.
The current statewide workforce crisis requires the state to take immediate steps to address the factors contributing to teacher attrition, especially educator salaries. The state must commit additional funding and direct districts to provide a significant salary increase to teachers and other educational and support staff.
The cost of health insurance has reached a crisis point for Texas school employees, and benefits under the TRS-administered plans have declined in efforts to keep costs down. The state must increase its contributions and ensure that employees have access to affordable, high quality coverage.
Lawmakers must focus on providing adequate resources to public schools, including an increase in the basic allotment, and should oppose measures that will decrease available revenues such as proposals to use public funds to support private or home schools.
Teachers must be able to maintain an academic environment conducive to learning. Current laws that allow teachers to remove disruptive students must not be restricted, and schools should be required to have discipline policies in place that provide for administrative support of teachers and appropriate access to resources and skilled personnel to address students’ behavioral issues. Schools must have adequate funding for measures to ensure campus safety.
Time spent on non-instructional duties and responsibilities outside of the workday must be reduced or eliminated. This will provide teachers with the time needed to adequately plan and collaborate with colleagues, reduce the intrusion of work responsibilities into personal time, and contribute to teacher retention.
The current defined benefit structure of the retirement system must be retained, and benefits increased for retirees through a series of cost-of-living adjustments, so that school employees are provided a measure of financial security after years of dedicated service to our state’s schoolchildren.
Texas statutes provide basic protections such as class size limits, teacher certification requirements, notification to parents of departures from class size and certification laws, and basic teacher rights and benefits. These laws ensure a safe, transparent and productive school environment, but they have been eroded by measures such as Districts of Innovation. Further erosion must be halted and protections restored to ensure a standard baseline of expectations and transparency.