TASB 2020–2022 Advocacy Agenda Priorities

As Adopted October 3, 2020 by the TASB Delegate Assembly

COVID-19 Pandemic

TASB calls upon the Texas Legislature to continue working with local school districts to identify and address student needs during and after the COVID-19 pandemic and other disasters, such as access to technology and broadband/utility services, mental health resources, meals, social services, personal protective equipment, additional support for economically disadvantaged children, and remediation for students, while maintaining local control. The state should also suspend accountability ratings during disasters that severely impact school operations, such as the current pandemic, enact a temporary moratorium on the expansion or creation of new charter schools, not supplant state education funding with federal funds provided for disaster recovery, and fund schools based on student enrollment to ensure adequate instructional continuity.

Charter Schools

TASB calls upon the Texas Legislature to prohibit the expansion of charter schools, to reduce the impact charter schools have on the state budget and on local public schools, and to increase the transparency of charter schools and their operators, especially with regard to enrollment and expulsion practices, business operations, and expenditures. The state should require charters to have publicly elected board members who are accountable to the communities they serve.

Diversity and Cultural Awareness

TASB calls upon the Texas Legislature to support diversity and cultural awareness initiatives throughout districts through staff and student education and restorative teaching and disciplinary practices that treat all students with equality.

Governance

TASB calls upon the Texas Legislature to recognize and preserve the right of public school boards to associate and collaborate with each other and to communicate the needs of their students and schools, both directly and through representative organizations, with lawmakers.

Mental Health and Safety

TASB calls upon the Texas Legislature to increase state funding for access to proactive mental health services and support in public schools to improve the physical safety and psychological well-being of our students and staff, especially as they cope with additional anxiety related to COVID-19. This includes access to services for all students in a school setting; the ability for districts to provide students with targeted interventions; and the establishment of a collaborative network of school and mental health professionals to better identify and meet the needs of students and their caregivers.

TASB calls upon the Texas Legislature to work with public school districts and their locally elected trustees to enhance school safety measures, including increased funding for school safety audits, the school safety allotment, and other measures that ensure the safety of students and staff.

Public School Finance

TASB calls upon the Texas Legislature to aggressively commit to maintain the promises and dedication of funding made in the new school finance system implemented under House Bill 3 (86th Session) and to equitably share the cost of education with local school districts. Further, the state should implement a funding structure that recognizes the flexibility needed by and the additional costs incurred by school districts amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

State Assessments

TASB calls upon the Texas Legislature to continue to reduce state assessments by eliminating those not required by federal law, removing the high-stakes aspect of the system, reducing testing time, and prohibiting standardized tests from serving as the primary indicator of school and student performance. TASB advocates for additional support for non-high-stakes, diagnostic assessment alternatives, such as writing portfolios and adaptive exams.

Teacher Recruitment and Retention

TASB calls upon the Texas Legislature to support adaptive and creative local solutions for recruiting and retaining high-quality, diverse educators in our independent school districts and to help elevate the teaching profession by incentivizing students to enter the teaching profession, shoring up teacher health benefits and retirement, and supporting local measures to develop and assess educators.

Vouchers

TASB calls upon the Texas Legislature to prevent any transfer of public education funds through the use of vouchers, savings accounts, or tax credits to private or out-of-state entities, including the unfettered expansion of virtual instruction by corporations.