Major bills on the move in final days of 87th session

The state budget – the only “must have” legislation of the session – is now on its way to Gov. Abbott’s desk, but as is typical as time runs short, the House and Senate are creating drama over each chamber’s treatment of the other’s bills.

Some of the biggest education bills of the session were addressed Wednesday. The Senate took up three significant issues, while the House passed major accountability legislation. For the most part, these bills have been improved from their original versions thanks to a great deal of work from the education community, but some problematic provisions still remain. Click here to read more. Key bills on teacher training, counselor duties and more also passed this week. Click here to read more.

The session ends Monday, which means many bills are probably dead, but anything can happen before sine die. Keep checking our Updates from the Capitol for the latest news and look for our recap in next week's eUpdate.
Don't miss our legislative wrap-up on June 19

Members of TCTA's top-ranked teacher lobby team will provide a wrap-up of the 87th session of the Texas Legislature at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 19. They'll go over key education legislation that passed and explain what it means for your classrooms in the coming year. They'll also save time for your questions. Click here to register and get the Zoom link and password.

Miss our membership session last week? You can watch a replay of Persie Ngo-Hatchie's May 22 Saturday Spotlight presentation in the Online CPE tab of our members-only portal. You won't earn CPE credit, but you'll learn more about the recruitment process and being a faculty representative, get ideas to connect with local members, and review how we can help you make the most of your membership. Click here to log in and watch now.
4 school systems join Teacher Incentive Allotment program

TEA announced this week that four public school systems have been approved for a local designation system as part of the Teacher Incentive Allotment program. Donna ISD, San Antonio ISD, School of Science and Technology (San Antonio), and School of Science and Technology Discovery (Leon Valley) join 26 school systems that were approved last year. About $43 million will be generated and paid out to more than 4,600 designated teachers, TEA said, including 108 National Board certified teachers who earned "recognized" designations. TCTA's spring magazine included more on the TIA program and National Board certification. Click here to read the article.
TEA seeks educators to serve on virtual certification exam development panels

Development activities are ongoing for new and redeveloped certification exams, including the Special Education EC-6, 6-12. There are upcoming opportunities in 2021 for Texas educators to participate in virtual exam development committees. Visit the recruitment website for information about the development process and how to get involved or apply now to participate in these and future exam development activities. 
'Amazing' turnout among youth for COVID-19 vaccine

More than 100,000 Texas adolescents showed up for doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in the first week of eligibility, the Texas Department of State Health Services reports. As with adults, the vaccine is not mandatory, but health officials say the larger pool of eligible Texans will help the state reach herd immunity faster. DSHS is also scheduling mobile vaccination clinics for groups of five or more.
Renew and relax this summer!

As the school year ends, take time to renew your membership for the 2021-22 school year. Pay your dues now with a credit/debit card or PayPal, or sign up to continue payroll deduction and relax this summer, knowing your coverage will continue in the fall. You can also encourage your colleagues to join TCTA, though their legal coverage won't begin until Aug. 1, 2021, or the date they join, whichever is later. For every two eligible members you recruit, you can earn $25 through our Take 2/Make $25 program.
Start saving for kids' college education with state plans

As industry professionals prepare to celebrate 529 College Savings Day on Saturday, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar is encouraging families to save for their children’s higher education expenses using the state’s 529 college plans.

“529 day is a reminder that it’s never too late – or too early – to start planning for a child’s college education,” Hegar said. “Families will find that when it comes to planning for their children’s future education, every little bit adds up. One way to get a head start is by opening a new 529 plan or contributing to an existing one.” Click here to learn more about available plans in Texas.
CEO, COO exit IDEA Public Schools after review of finances

IDEA Public Schools, the largest charter school network in Texas, parted ways with its chief executive and chief operations officer after an investigation into alleged misuse of funds, according to a letter sent to the school community earlier this week.

Board President Al Lopez announced the departure of CEO JoAnn Gama and COO Irma Muñoz after an anonymous tip led the IDEA Board of Directors to conduct an in-depth legal and forensic review. That review, performed by a special counsel, found years of financial transactions with misused funds, according to the letter. Click here to read more.
  • May 31 is Memorial Day and the last day of the 87th Legislative Session. (TCTA Headquarters is closed Monday, normal hours resume Tuesday.)
  • June 15 is the deadline for first-year teachers to complete TEA's survey.
  • June 20 is Father's Day.
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