House Bill 2820 eliminates TRS's 403(b) registry
Headlines warn lawmakers to “Stop Fleecing Teachers” (Dallas Morning News editorial 10/30), and assert that a recently-passed bill “…declares open season on Texas teachers’ retirement funds” (DMN 10/27). How concerned should educators be?

HB 2820 from the 2019 legislative session eliminated a program that required the Teacher Retirement System to certify 403(b) companies and maintain a registry of 403(b) investment products.  Eliminating the program may subject school employees to higher fees, so it will be important to carefully research and compare any retirement savings plans you are considering. 

TCTA invited to address committee on HB 3 issues

The House Public Education Committee met Monday to take invited testimony on two major bills that passed recently: House Bill 3 from the 2019 legislation (school finance/teacher salaries) and House Bill 22 from 2017 (accountability). TCTA General Counsel Lonnie Hollingsworth was the only teacher representative invited, and served on the panel that addressed HB 3 implementation issues.

He spoke about how hard it has been for districts to get accurate information on the amount of new funding to expect from the state. Uncertainty about funding has led to overly conservative estimates in some places, resulting in less money directed to employee salary increases than should be the case. 

In other legislative news, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Wednesday released interim charges for Senate committees to study ahead of the 2021 session.

Texas 4th-, 8th-graders struggle with reading; 2019 math scores mixed

Fourth- and eighth-graders in Texas public schools still struggle with reading, according to the 2019 nation's report card. Math scores show mixed results.

Every two years, selected students are given the National Assessment of Educational Progress in reading and mathematics to see how students perform across the country. Texas trails the national average reading score in fourth and eighth grade, but fourth-grade math scores are above average. Eighth-grade math scores are only slightly below the national average in 2019.

Have you voted yet?

Early voting ends today ahead of the Nov. 5 election. Ten propositions to amend the Texas Constitution are on the ballot statewide. Two of them Proposition 4 and Proposition 7 could have an impact on public education funding .

Many municipalities and school boards also have seats up for election and/or bond propositions. Click here to see everything on the ballot in your area.
District to pay $7.8 million after violating copyright

An educational publishing company sued Houston ISD for copyright infringement, alleging that the district repeatedly unlawfully reproduced, distributed, adapted and displayed its copyrighted works. After the district rejected an initial settlement offer for $250,000, the case went to trial. In a final settlement after a jury awarded the company $9.2 million, the district agreed to pay $7.8 million in damages.

Sams and Sandoval named 2020 Teachers of the Year

Karen Sams , at right, a third-grade teacher from Weatherford ISD, is the 2020 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year, and Michelle Sandoval , an eighth-grade math teacher from Ysleta ISD, is the 2020 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year. Sams was chosen to represent the state as Texas Teacher of the Year in the National Teacher of the Year competition. They were honored during a luncheon Oct. 25 in Austin. Seven TCTA members also were recognized as Regional Teachers of the Year.

TEA seeks feedback by Nov. 19 on resources

The Texas Resource Review, which provides Texas educators with free access to comprehensive and user-friendly information about the quality of instructional materials, is seeking feedback from educators by Nov. 19 on the following rubrics:
To give feedback, fill out the Public Comment Submission Form .
TEA connects districts to replace materials damaged in recent natural disasters

The Texas Education Agency is working to connect districts that have instructional materials needs because of Tropical Storm Imelda or other natural disasters with people and organizations that want to help. Click here to access the current wish list or to fulfill a need.
Filing deadline for TCTA state elections is Nov. 9

Are you interested in TCTA statewide office? If so, a key deadline is about a week away! Delegates to the 2020 Annual Meeting on Feb. 7, 2020, will elect the following TCTA statewide officers, with terms to begin June 1, 2020:
  • President-Elect
  • Budget Committee Chair
  • Curriculum & Instruction Committee Chair
  • Teacher Personal Services Committee Chair
  • Director-at-Large (if needed)
Nov. 9 also is the deadline to submit proposed amendments to the TCTA Constitution or Bylaws for inclusion on the ballot. 
Fall for exclusive savings

Whether you want to get a jump on holiday shopping, cozy up at the movies or get tickets to NFL or NBA games, stretch your paycheck with exclusive savings from TicketsatWork. Save $10 on a $100 purchase using promo code WELCOME10OFF . Sign up or log in before Nov. 30, and you could win a $25 gift card from TicketsatWork.
Click here to become a member, using company code SWTCTA.
Already have a TicketsatWork account? Click here to log in.
Free AI training next week in Central Texas

Teachers in Central Texas who are interested in learning how artificial intelligence can be used in the classroom are invited to attend a free two-day seminar in Austin on Nov. 7-8. Attendees will learn what AI is, how it can support teaching and how it might impact student learning.

  • Daylight Saving Time ends Sunday, Nov. 3. Enjoy the extra hour of sleep!
  • Nov. 5 is Election Day.
  • Nov. 11 is Veterans Day.
  • Nov. 28 is Thanksgiving.
You can earn $25 for every two eligible first-time active members you recruit. Click here for Take 2/Make $25 program details.
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