Texas system for funding public schools ruled unconstitutional
State District Judge John Dietz, on Thursday, issued a long-awaited final decision in the school-finance case brought against the state by hundreds of school districts. Judge Dietz found overwhelming evidence that the current funding system is unconstitutional because it is not adequate, not equitable, and violates the ban on a statewide property tax. The lawsuit was filed after lawmakers cut $5.4 billion from state public education funding in 2011. Both of the Alliance’s state affiliates – TSTA and Texas AFT – have urged Attorney General Greg Abbott to stop using tax dollars on further appeals and have called on the Legislature to immediately begin working on a plan that can be passed during next year’s session. Continue reading
Use of Leave Days
Every year, the Alliance office receives questions regarding use of leave days. Through our Consultation meetings with the district administration, we have worked to convey concerns and confusion that may exist with regard to use of leave days. This year, John Norman, from SAISD Human Resources, created an excellent Power Point to help explain the district’s leave day policy. Continue reading
The Kids Are Worth It
With a decision in the long-running school-finance lawsuit expected later this week, Linda Bridges, president of the Texas AFT, an Alliance state affiliate, put the legal issues in classroom perspective in an op-ed article published Wednesday by the Austin American-Statesman:
As teachers and parents filled the state Capitol in 2011 to fight unprecedented education cuts, a reporter asked why we kept on when the odds seemed stacked against us.
In the Spring of last school year, the Alliance took on the issue of over testing. We are committed to continue working on this issue at the local, state, and national levels. Testing has a proper place in the teaching and learning process, but reducing our children to a number and treating them as though they are standardized is not appropriate. We know our students are more than a test score.
After conducting a survey on excessive testing, the Alliance held an Excessive Testing Forum in February last year to listen to the concerns and begin work on the issue. The Alliance Excessive Testing Task Force was then formed. The goals of the task force are: Continue reading
The American Legislative Exchange Council brings together corporations and state legislators they are courting as sponsors of bad legislation to be filed in state capitols around the country. ALEC and its ilk are responsible for many bills attacking public education and public employees. This year’s annual ALEC conference convened in Dallas on July 30.
Dallas was certainly a fitting choice for the meeting, given that it’s the site of an ALEC-style attempt at a hostile takeover by private interests of the state’s second-largest school district, Dallas ISD, under the Orwellian label of “home rule.” But ALEC conferees may have been surprised by what else greeted them in Dallas—a 500-strong “reception committee” of labor and allied progressive Texans calling out ALEC for its anti-worker, anti-public-school, anti-democratic agenda. Continue reading
Friends, when a small group of parents and educators formed the Network for Public Education in 2013, we had a singular goal: to mobilize the allies of public education against the powerful forces supporting privatization and high-stakes testing. To advance that goal, we hoped to create a force to counter the large amounts of money that were being dumped into state and local school board races to undermine public education, to demoralize teachers, and to promote an agenda of choice, testing, and sanctions.
We knew we were up against some of the wealthiest people in the nation. We knew they included a bunch of billionaires, and we could never match their spending. Read More