Latest Capitol Updates

These updates are also compiled and emailed weekly via the TCTA eUpdate. Subscribe here.

Legislative meetings canceled this week | February 18, 2021 - 12:56pm

Neither the House, Senate, or legislative committees met this week due to the serious winter storm that affected most of the state.The House had scheduled its first budget hearings for this week, including taking testimony regarding the TRS and TEA/school finance budgets, but those hearings were rescheduled.

Student discipline bills | February 11, 2021 - 11:28am

A number of bills relating to student discipline have been filed, including proposals encouraging the use of restorative justice techniques and bills addressing the use of disciplinary actions with special education students. The bill filing deadline is March 12.

A bill has been filed - what now? | February 10, 2021 - 12:42pm

For anyone who is new to the legislative process, or who could use a refresher, the basic process is laid out here.

Latest News

In a letter to district superintendents on Feb. 18, TEA outlined three options for districts for the week of Feb. 22-26 as recovery from the winter storm continues. 

TCTA staff and leadership are closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on Texas schools. We've compiled answers to many of the questions our members are asking about COVID-19. The following FAQs also are available to non-members to help all educators navigate this unprecedented time. The FAQs are updated as new guidance emerges from federal, state and local officials.

Click here for our resources about teaching online. Click here for our summary of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which provides paid leave for employees. Click here for information about the CARES Act, which adds funds for education.

We encourage TCTA members with specific questions to call our Legal Department at 888-879-8282 for assistance. Members with general inquiries can submit them through the Ask-a-Lawyer portal.

The Texas Education Agency is moving forward with the spring administrations of STAAR, STAAR Alternate 2, TELPAS and TELPAS Alternate, but it will seek a waiver to suspend A-F school accountability ratings for the 2020-21 school year due to the ongoing COVID-19 disruptions. In new guidance, TEA says all students, even those learning remotely, will be required to be present at a monitored testing session and to be supervised by a trained test administrator.

Groups of teachers can apply to TEA to earn stipends for piloting Texas Home Learning instructional materials, which are designed for both in-person and remote learning. Pilot participants will receive $500 or $1,000 stipends, remote learning training and ongoing coaching support, and extra materials for text sets, including manipulatives (if piloting a THL-recommended unit). 

Application deadlines are approaching for the 2020-21 Charles Butt Scholarship, which awards $8,000 to $10,000 per year for up to four years to aspiring teachers through 10 partner universities. Applicants must be committed to teaching in a majority-economically disadvantaged school or in a teacher shortage area in a Texas public school. About 100 new scholarships will be awarded this year. For more information and how to apply, visit CharlesButtScholarship.org.  

The TRS Board of Trustees met remotely for its December meeting. Former TCTA State President Nanette Sissney, one of the employee representatives on the board, was reelected as vice-chair.