Highlights

  • More details have been released about the education issues to be considered in the upcoming special session.
  • The "$1,000 teacher pay raise" has morphed into an increase in average salaries and benefits and a "more flexible and rewarding" system.
  • TCTA urges teachers to visit legislators now; you can also write, email, call or attend one of two upcoming rallies.

Top issues

Gov. Greg Abbott has issued the official proclamation for the upcoming special session, which starts Tuesday, July 18, and has released a draft of the supplemental proclamation that covers the additional items he wants lawmakers to consider, including education issues such as a teacher pay raise and vouchers for students with special needs.

When first announcing the special session in June, Abbott referred to a $1,000 teacher pay raise (without additional funding from the state) as well as flexibility in hiring and firing teachers. However, the new draft proclamation is worded quite differently:

Legislation to increase the average salary and benefits of Texas teachers; and legislation to provide a more flexible and rewarding salary and benefit system for Texas teachers.

A recent press release touted the need for a "career ladder," but the legislation has not yet been filed. Including the word "average" strongly implies that not all teachers would receive an increase, and there has been no further mention of whether increased state funding is contemplated. More details will be available when the actual bill is filed.

The draft proclamation includes the other education-related issues that had previously been announced, including the creation of a statewide commission to study school finance, vouchers for students with special needs, and prohibition of payroll deduction for association dues.

Get involved

The good news is that a summer special session means teachers can get more involved. Here's how:

Schedule a meeting with your state senator and representative this week, before the special session begins. Or, you can visit them at the Capitol after the special session starts. Make an appointment and keep your message brief. Let them know you're a constituent, and explain how the issues are affecting you and your colleagues. Once legislators are in Austin, they will be harder to reach and surrounded by lobbyists representing a multitude of interests. Catch them at their home office so you have their full attention. 

Write, call or email. Personal visits are always more effective, but legislators and their staff track how many constituents make contact on an issue. Large numbers of communications can be powerful. Take the time to include personal experiences related to the issue, if possible. TCTA will alert you to specific opportunities during the special session.

Attend a rally/march. TCTA is aware of two upcoming events in Austin (click on the links below for more information):

  • Texans for Public Education plans a public rally Monday, July 17, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. on the south steps of the Capitol. Those attending are encouraged to wear red to show their support for public education.
  • March for Public Education-Austin plans a public rally Saturday, July 22, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Capitol. This event serves as a sister rally to a march planned in Washington, D.C.

Unsure of what to say or how to say it? 

We've compiled some talking points and tips for communicating with elected officials. You are also welcome to call our office at 888-879-8282, and someone on the legislative team can answer questions or provide specific guidance.

Not sure how to reach your legislators? 

Click here to look up your state representative and senator and find contact information, including emails, phone numbers and district office locations.