This article appeared in the 2017 summer issue of The Classroom Teacher.

Ahead of a special session that includes several education issues, many TCTA members heeded our call to speak up. Through phone calls, emails and office visits, teachers are showing their influence, and the impact on state lawmakers has been clear. Nearly 20 bills relating to teacher salary increases have been filed, and the governor expanded the agenda of the special session to include TRS-Care funding.

Hundreds of teachers and public education supporters braved the heat July 17 to attend a rally organized by Texans for Public Education and sponsored by many education groups, including TCTA.

Signs bearing slogans such as “Education, not Segregation,” “NO Vouchers,” “Make Education a Priority,” “Don’t Mess with Texas Teachers” and “We Taught You Better” were scattered amid a sea of red T-shirts that covered the south lawn of the Capitol.

Speakers urged teachers to make their voices heard, calling for more state funding and help with health insurance costs for both active and retired teachers a day before the Texas Legislature convened for a special session in Austin. Several issues, including teacher pay, school vouchers and payroll deduction, were included in the special session agenda. 

TCTA urged members to get involved, and many traveled to Austin for the rally. Others attended a March for Education on July 22, which was co-organized by TCTA member Josh Clements and served as a sister march to a rally in Washington, D.C. Even more members took time to call, email, write or schedule office visits with their legislators to voice concerns about education issues.

Teachers attending the rally pledged to remain active heading into the 2018 primary season regardless of the outcome of the special session, speaking out and casting votes based on issues, not political parties. For tips on communicating with elected officials, click here.