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The ATPE Podcast: Legislative Update—Vouchers, Testing, and Teacher Pay

Association of Texas Professional Educators
Association of Texas Professional Educators

Date Posted: 5/18/2023

With the 88th Legislative Session soon coming to a close, lawmakers at the Capitol are battling over the future of public education policy. And with a historic budget surplus at their disposal, educators are hoping this will be the year the Legislature will approve a substantial across-the-board pay raise, but time is running out. Several bills have been proposed in both the Senate and the House to address the need for teacher retention, but the little compensation they offer is, of course, nowhere near enough.

Rather than fund the public education system, the Legislature may also choose to defund the system by passing a voucher program. Senate Bill 8 proposes a thinly veiled voucher program known as an “education savings account” that ATPE and others in the education community have overwhelmingly opposed. Its supporters claim that this bill would eliminate standardized testing, but it would also give the appointed commissioner of education unprecedented authority to create an entirely new standardized testing system.

Battles over these proposed bills are coming down to the wire this session. With deadlines for bills to be heard and voted on rapidly approaching, voucher programs and educator compensation are both on the table. Is it too late for educators to get involved and engage their representatives on these issues?

In this episode of The ATPE Podcast, ATPE Governmental Relations Director Monty Exter updates us on pending legislation in the final stretch of this session and how you can still make your voice heard.