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Education Commissioner Mike Morath said campuses, school districts and open-enrollment charter schools directly affected by Hurricane Harvey will be eligible for special evaluation in this year’s state accountability system, if they meet at least one of a number of specific criteria.

The TCTA Legal Department spent many hours assisting Pharr-San Juan-Alamo CTA members who were asked to vote this week on a proposal to convert their campuses to alternative management structures in return for increased state funding under S.B. 1882. TCTA lawyers kept our members fully informed about the potential risks to teacher rights and benefits.

On Wednesday, Gov. Greg Abbott released a “School and Firearm Safety Action Plan” as a response to the recent tragic school shooting at Santa Fe High School. The plan includes 40 specific recommendations on issues ranging from gun safety to school security to mental health services. It cites TCTA's recent school safety survey and testimony on student discipline.

Cherie Bales of Denver City will serve as TCTA's state president during the 2018-19 school year. Her term begins June 1, when Suzanne Garcia McCall of Slaton becomes immediate past president. Albert Mosqueda of San Benito will serve as president-elect.

The House Public Education Committee met Thursday, May 24, regarding two more of its interim charges: examining research-based options for evaluating student achievement beyond standardized test scores, and examining programs in public schools that have proven results meeting the needs of and improving student achievement for students with disabilities.

TCTA Executive Director Jeri Stone was asked to participate in one of Gov. Greg Abbott’s roundtable discussions on school safety this week, held in response to the recent tragedy at Santa Fe High School.

Stone was the only teacher representative included in the talks, attending the meeting on Wednesday along with Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Speaker Joe Straus, Education Commissioner Mike Morath, several legislators, mental health experts, school administrators, and representatives of gun groups and other associations.

Following two online STAAR testing disruptions this spring, Education Commissioner Mike Morath said TEA won’t penalize certain students who didn’t pass the state standardized test this year. Their scores also won't be counted in campus and district accountability ratings, unless they raise the overall score. TEA will also ask Educational Testing Service to pay $100,000 in liquidated damages for the testing problems.

TCTA testified at the May 18, 2018, State Board for Educator Certification meeting against a proposal to expand the types of certificates that could be obtained via a shortened educator preparation program. In response, although the board voted to advance the proposal, board members cautioned that they wanted a more thorough vetting of the expansion proposal with all interested stakeholders before the next board meeting when the proposal will be up for final adoption.

Members of the Science Teachers Association of Texas recently elected retired Brady ISD teacher Linda Schaake as their president-elect for the 2018-2019 school year. Schaake, a TCTA member since 2013, will serve as president of STAT during the 2019-2020 school year and as past president during 2020-2021.

TCTA's Ann Fickel provided testimony at a meeting of the House Pensions Committee in Dallas on Thursday, May 10. The Dallas City Council Chambers were packed with retired teachers, several of whom also testified with their concerns about retirement and health insurance benefits.