TCTA was the only teacher group invited to testify at Monday’s meeting of the House Public Education Committee. The committee was considering a new version of the voucher bill, SB 8, that included a brand-new proposal to replace STAAR testing.
The committee heard from several panels, and TCTA Director of Legislation Paige Williams spoke in opposition to the bill. She spoke about the need to maximize funding for public schools rather than funding yet another school system (traditional schools, charter schools, and now private schools), and concluded by saying:
We believe that lawmakers have a rare opportunity this session to help students, teachers and schools. We are disappointed that so much attention is focused on legislation like this that we believe will harm public schools and that does nothing to address our teacher shortage. We ask you to not allow SB 8 to progress, but to keep your focus on school funding, teacher salaries and working conditions that will help ensure our students are given the best education possible by high-quality, experienced teachers at well-funded schools.
You can watch her testimony here.
Other invited witnesses (no public testimony aside from invited guests was allowed) were split between supporters and opponents of SB 8.
The bill was left pending.
On Sunday, Gov. Greg Abbott threatened to veto SB 8 and call a special session if the House’s version of the bill was sent to him. Since then, political news site Quorum Report has published a story asserting that Abbott is considering a September special session to ensure that teachers will be in school and less able to organize against voucher legislation.