2021 Legislative Priorities: Invest in Texas Public Schools

The need to invest in Texas public schools has never been greater.

The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our schools and communities are far-reaching and have exposed systemic inequities. State policies that address long-term solutions to equity and fairness for all students are needed now more than ever.

Modernize the school finance system to fund Texas schools at a level that meets the needs of a growing and diverse student population.

  • Increase the state share of the Foundation School Program to 50%. State funding requires local property taxes to cover the majority of public-school costs.
  • Keep public dollars in public schools by opposing taxpayer subsidies to private entities. These include Tax Credit Scholarships, Education Savings Accounts and vouchers for students in special education.

 

Ensure school and community environments are safe and supportive for all students.

  • Invest in mental health resources including ongoing mental and behavioral health support for students.
  • Fully fund school safety and health initiatives with flexibility in how districts utilize these funds to meet the needs of local schools and communities.
  • Provide flexibility for teachers and principals to appropriately manage disruptive or dangerous students while meeting their educational needs.

 

Implement targeted supports to close educational achievement gaps between groups of students.

  • Provide formula-funded, voluntary, full-day prekindergarten that furthers the goal of closing gaps in educational proficiency.
  • Provide adequate principal and teacher training to address the needs of our most challenging populations allowing flexibility in how districts utilize these funds.
  • Provide funding to help bridge the digital divide, expanding and improving internet access for all students.

 

Establish a comprehensive accountability system that moves beyond high-stakes, multiple-choice exams and instead measures progress of the whole child.

  • Remove grade advancement requirements that are tied to standardized assessments in reading and math for grades 5 and 8.
  • Limit the number of required assessments to those mandated by the federal government.

 

Protect the right of education associations to freely advocate for members, students and schools.

  • Oppose bills that would limit or prohibit lobbying from education association professionals.
  • Keep educator voices in committee meetings by opposing bills designed to silence professional associations.

 

Safeguard the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS).

  • Preserve the defined benefits plan for retired educators and ensure financial stability of the active and retiree health care systems.
  • Increase state funding to assist with increased healthcare costs associated with TRS-ActiveCare and TRS-Care.

 

“Our schools are the cornerstones of our communities. It is imperative the Texas Legislature continue to support public education as we address the needs of students, educators and schools across the state during this extraordinary time.”

Julie Gauthier, TEPSA State President
Port Neches-Groves ISD Deputy Superintendent

The Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA), whose hallmark is educational leaders learning with and from each other, has served Texas PK-8 school leaders since 1917. Member owned and member governed, TEPSA has more than 5,900 members who direct the activities of 3 million PK-8 school children. TEPSA is an affiliate of the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

© Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association

Sign up to receive the latest news on Texas
PK-8 school leadership.