Texas Legislative Updates
- Texas’ 88th legislative session is set to begin, and education will be a key focus. Several bills related to education are expected to be introduced, including ones aiming to increase school funding, expand assessments and testing, and regulate classroom content.
- Reporters will not be allowed on the floor of the Texas Senateduring the upcoming legislative session. The decision to bar reporters from the chamber floor is a continuation of a measure introduced two years ago as a COVID-19 precaution. Reporters will still be allowed on the floor of the House of Representatives, though this could change when the 150 members of the House vote on the chamber’s rules, including press access, on Tuesday.
- Rep. Gina Hinojosa says, “This is going to be the public education session, for better or worse.” Proposals, such as last session’s Senate Bill 176, would create a “school choice” system of education vouchers, allowing parents to use the taxes they pay to public schools to pay for their children’s private schools.
- US Representative Kevin McCarthy was elected House speaker in the early morning hours of January 4th. Chip Roy, Michael Cloud, and Keith Self, all Texas Republicans, voted 11 times against McCarthy’s bid for speaker, expressing discontent with how party leaders have run the House Republican conference. They eventually agreed with party leaders and voted for McCarthy in exchange for continued talks on reforming the chamber. The election of McCarthy as House speaker was the first in over a century to require multiple votes.
Days until the 88th Texas Legislative Session: 1 (January 10, 2023)
TEA & State Updates
- Governor Abbott announces career and technical education grants. The Texas Workforce Commission has awarded over $54 million in Jobs and Education for Texans grants to public colleges, school districts, and open-enrollment charter schools in the state. The grants will be used to purchase equipment for career and technical education programs in fields including nursing, welding, and dentistry. The grants are intended to defray start-up costs for programs that train students for high-demand occupations. The JET Advisory Board will administer the grants.
- Governor Abbott has appointed Senator Jane Nelson as the 115th Secretary of State of Texas. She will serve as the state’s Chief Election Officer, assisting county election officials and ensuring that election laws are uniformly applied and interpreted. Senator Nelson has been a member of the Texas Senate since 1992 and has a long list of accomplishments, including establishing the Cancer Research & Prevention Institute of Texas, reforming medical liability, and passing numerous bills to protect victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.
DOE & National Updates
- Around 43% of federal COVID-19 emergency funds that states passed on to school districts, totaling $6.1 billion, were used to meet students’ academic, social, emotional, and other needs, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Education. Reopening schools for in-person learning and expenses related to physical health and safety in schools represented the second and third largest areas of expenditure, respectively. The report said that while there are “hopeful signs of recovery,” education leaders and their communities at every level should continue to use emergency funds and other resources to address student needs, including high-dosage tutoring programs, summer learning, and after-school programs, staffing levels and mental health support for students.
- The American Teacher Act proposes a national minimum salary of $60,000 for teachers. It was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in December 2022 and has received endorsements from education advocates. If passed, it could take effect in the 2024-2025 academic year. Several states have already proposed or passed legislation to increase teacher salaries to $60,000.
- U.S. Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, praised the $18.4 billion in Title I funding, which provides resources for underserved students, and $150 million for Full-Service Community Schools, included in the Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus Appropriations. The funding will also create new career pathway options for high school students, increase college completion rates, and boost the maximum Pell Grant by $500, helping more students access college or career training.
Articles of Interest
- North Texas School District Is Nation’s First to Use New Active Shooter Technology
- Startling 96% of School Tech Exposes Student Data, Research Finds
- Teachers with high hopes found to produce more successful kids
- January 9, 2023 – Texas Tribune’s Conversation with Texas Comptroller Glen Hegar
- January 10, 2023 – 88th Texas Legislative Session begins
- January 29 – February 1, 2023 – TASA Midwinter Conference
- January 31 – February 3, 2023 – SBOE meeting
- February 10, 2023 – SBEC meeting
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