Every two years, the Texas legislature meets for a few brief months to make decisions that affect educators for the next two school years. These months bring a flurry of activity and information—committee meetings, hearings, public testimony, blog posts, urgent alerts—and then the session dies down and we wait to see how the laws passed will affect us.
But wait…there’s more! Did you know that the time between sessions is chock-full of rulemaking and information gathering? Lawmakers and advocates (including your own ATPE lobbyists) work hard between sessions both to prepare for the next legislative session and to clarify details of the laws that have recently been passed.
As a public education advocate, you, too, have a big role to fill between sessions!
Get to know your legislators.
Taking the time to build relationships with your legislators and discussing your concerns with them between legislative cycles is worth the effort. Visit Advocacy Central at to find your legislators’ names and contact info. Research their positions on key education issues, and share your personal positions and experiences with them via email, phone, or even face-to-face meetings.
Remember, your legislators work for YOU, and you are the expert on what goes on inside the classroom.
The best way to influence future legislation is by electing lawmakers who will protect educators and students.
If educators come out to vote in the 2018 primaries and general election, we CAN make a difference. Find election resources at TeachtheVote.org.
Get involved locally.
If you want to make a difference in your community, take a stand on issues that directly affect you, your school, and your students. Stay up to date with your local news and let your administrators know about issues that concern you. If there are school committees that affect your job, get involved! Have you ever considered running for your local school board or another local elected office?
Donate or volunteer.
Looking for something to do over the summer? Why not volunteer for a public education advocacy organization? What about working on a political campaign for a pro-public education candidate? You could even volunteer to serve on ATPE’s Legislative Committee and offer your input on our legislative program. If volunteering is too much of a commitment, perhaps you could make a small donation to the cause of your choice. Consider donating to ATPE’s own Political Action Committee, which provides bipartisan support to pro-public education candidates and officeholders.
Give your expert advice.
The Texas Education Agency routinely looks for educators to serve in state committee advisory positions that help shape Texas education policies. Many ATPE members have been selected to serve on these committees in the past (see Casey Hubbard’s comments, below). ATPE also needs educators who can give legislative testimony on critical issues or speak to the media about public education. Fill out our volunteer interest form.
Read our blog at TeachtheVote.org and follow ATPE on social media to stay informed and engaged. We’ll provide the details, but it’s up to you to do the reading.
Keep the conversation going.
Don’t be shy about sharing important news and events with your colleagues or others in your community who are concerned about public education.
Be involved in the election process.
Take an active role in elections. Learn about local and state candidates for office, register voters, become a precinct chair, and recruit volunteers. Talk to your school leaders about ways to encourage other educators (or even high school students on your campus) to vote.
“I served on the Educator Prep Advisory committee for the TEA. We discussed a multitude of issues that impact teacher preparation programs. It was interesting to talk about licensure and how many times one can take the certification tests. We also discussed how rigorous programs at universities and alternative programs can be. We talked about what can be done to recruit more qualified field mentors at the university and at district levels. I was excited to see the TEA board and commissioner take into account several of the actions we decided on!” —Casey Hubbard, Coppell ATPE