Republicans retain control of Texas Legislature after election

Texans turned out in record numbers for the 2020 elections, but the “blue wave” that some had predicted failed to materialize. Democrats gained back one seat in the Texas Senate, as anticipated. The partisan breakdown of that chamber now is 18-13 in favor of Republicans, with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick retaining a tight hold on Senate policies and procedures heading into the 2021 session, which begins Jan. 12.

In the House, some observers estimated that as many as 15 seats could flip, handing Democrats a majority for the first time since 2001. But only two incumbents (one Republican, one Democrat) were defeated, no open seats flipped, and the partisan makeup of the House remains 83-67 in favor of Republicans. Once the results were in, drama began to erupt over the selection of a new House speaker.

Republicans now have a 9-6 majority on the State Board of Education after Democrats picked up one seat. Click here to read more.
COVID cases climbing across Texas, as state leads nation

Texas now leads the nation in the total number of COVID-19 cases, passing California this week. According to the state's COVID-19 dashboard for school districts, 19,698 Texas students and 12,289 staff members have tested positive through the week ending Nov. 1. Schools continue to quarantine affected students and staff. Some, such as Manor ISD, are closing campuses while others, including Abilene ISD, are sending specific classes or grade levels home for remote learning.

TEA continues to enroll districts in its rapid COVID-19 testing program, with free kits and PPE provided by the federal government based on infection rates in a district's community. Ysleta ISD's superintendent said rapid testing was allowing the district to continue playing fall sports despite El Paso reporting about 3,000 positive COVID-19 cases daily.

Check out TCTA's COVID-19 FAQs

We continue to update our COVID-19 FAQs on 2020-21 Education Issues to help members understand guidance from federal and state officials.
While this information is not legal advice, we hope it helps answer questions you may have about COVID-19's impact on schools. Members who have specific concerns or questions should call the Legal Department at 888-879-8282 to speak with a staff attorney.
TRS offering some in-person appointments at Austin office

TRS is now scheduling some in-person visits at its Austin headquarters. While the office remains closed for walk-in visitors, appointments for retirement counseling sessions are being allowed for those who pass prescreening to help limit potential spread of COVID-19. Click here for more information.
Student caught with drugs asks court to toss evidence

A student who was caught with drugs on campus asked the court to toss out the evidence, claiming that a search by school administrators was illegal. But the court of appeals decided the search was reasonable. Click here to read more.
TCTA member wins chemistry teaching award

TCTA congratulates member Jo King, the Plano West Senior High School AP chemistry team leader, who recently won the 2020 American Chemical Society, Southwest Region High School Teaching Award for her outstanding contributions to chemistry education. Click here to read more.

Have news to share with us? Email communications@tcta.org.
Fifth video in Project Restore series now available online

Developing a Positive Classroom Culture, the fifth video in TEA's Project Restore series, is now available for viewing. This trauma-informed training series connects educators to relevant science and strategies that can help them address the emotional needs of their students, themselves, their colleagues and students’ families. Teachers earn continuing professional education hours for completing the training. Click here for more information and to access the videos.
Texas schools given Purple Star Designation

More than 100 Texas public schools qualified for Purple Star Designation for the 2020-21 school year, signaling their support for military-connected students and their families. Click here to read more and see the list of designated schools.
Encourage your colleagues to join TCTA with Take 2/Make $25!

Encourage your colleagues to join TCTA and you could earn $25 for every two eligible Active-level members you recruit through Dec. 31 with our Take 2/Make $25 program. Click here for details. If you need brochures, pens or other materials to share on campus, please call the Membership Department at 888-879-8282 or email membership@tcta.org.
  • Veterans Day is Nov. 11.
  • The State Board of Education meets Nov. 17-20 in Austin, but all public testimony will be virtual.
  • Thanksgiving is Nov. 26.
PO BOX 1489 AUSTIN, TX 78767 | 888-879-8282 | TCTA.ORG