We’ve all heard the buzz. This year is allegedly “the year”—the one where voices of teachers and their allies are finally heard and a meaningful pay raise potentially gets passed. It’s easy to get excited and maybe even complacent about the prospect of something so long overdue coming to fruition, especially when it appears that the Texas governor, lieutenant governor, and Speaker of the House are all on the same page.
But here’s the thing: we didn’t arrive at this moment overnight. School finance reform and increased teacher pay are legislative priorities this session because educators fought hard over the interim to make it so. ATPE members and supporters of public schools shared their frustrations with candidates and elected officials, and then showed up at the ballot box. That is why our issues have finally captured the attention of politicians.
We can’t stop now. ATPE’s professional lobbyists are at the Capitol on your behalf meeting constantly with legislators and their staffs, but legislators don’t just want to hear from lobbyists, whom they see all the time. They want and need to hear from their own constituents, and especially those of you who are actively working in public schools and facing the challenges of public education every day. You are the ones who elected your legislators, and you are the people with the power to determine whether or not they continue to serve once their current term expires.
It’s time for you, yes you, to take advantage of one of ATPE’s most powerful resources: Advocacy Central.
Housed in the Advocacy section of the ATPE website, Advocacy Central is your one-stop shop to understand and influence bills affecting public education. To access this tool, go to atpe.org/advocacy-central
. It’s for ATPE members only, so member login is required. (If you are unable to access your account, call the ATPE state office at (800) 777-ATPE and request help from the Membership Department.)
You’ll see a series of grassroots advocacy campaigns centered around ATPE’s legislative priorities or other hot topics. Clicking on each campaign allows you to read ATPE’s stance on the particular issue and gives you the opportunity to send a message to the governor, lieutenant governor, your state senator, and your state representative about the issue or bill. You can even do the same with your congressional delegation in Washington, DC.
With only a few clicks, you can easily communicate with your elected officials by email, phone, or social media. The best part is that you can opt to use pre-written messages and scripts already drafted for you by our staff, or you can replace that text with your own words and personalized messages. Once you’ve finalized your message, just enter your name and contact information in the fields below and hit send. That’s it! There’s also a mobile app you can use to access Advocacy Central on your smartphone or tablet; learn more about the app here
Advocacy Central makes communicating with your legislators easy. And during a legislative session like this one where public education is the number one issue on the agenda, making your voice heard is essential. Your outreach matters because most legislators keep track of how many constituents call and write to them, what topics they care about, and their stances on those topics. They take that into consideration when voting on bills.
In other words, your simple actions could very well shape the outcomes of major bills this legislative session. Please help ATPE advocate for you by staying in touch
with your lawmakers this session.