Strong opposition to two bills affecting Texas educators - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Strong opposition to two bills affecting Texas educators

Clinton Gill, Texas State Teachers Association (Source: KCBD Video) Clinton Gill, Texas State Teachers Association (Source: KCBD Video)
Source: TX State Capitol website) Source: TX State Capitol website)
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

There's some strong opposition to two bills affecting Texas educators. Groups are urging teachers to contact their elected officials and ask them to vote no.

Some teachers are even calling the timing of these bills into question.

"It's a direct attack on teachers," says Clinton Gill with the Texas State Teachers Association.

If passed, Senate Bill 3 would allow parents to take their student's public school funding and use it as a voucher to help pay for private or home school education, if they choose.

But, Gill says there's no accountability.

"Parents can take that money and use it for educational purposes, but what they don't tell the public is that private schools get to pick which students they want," he says. "So, if they don't want to take a special ed student, they're not going to. If they don't want to take a student that's a discipline problem, they're not going to. They can kick those students right out and put them back into public schools."

Senate Bill 3 was scheduled on Wednesday's notice of intent, but did not make the senate floor.

The other bill is Senate Bill 13.

This bill puts a ban on payroll deductions of any association dues for a variety of employer groups. First responders and charitable organizations would be exempt.

State lawmakers who are for this bill say it aims to get the state out of the practice of collecting union dues.

But Gill says this mostly affects educators.

"If the government is truly saying that they should not be involved in collecting union dues, it should be across the board," he says. "There should not be some groups that continue to still be allowed to do it and other groups that aren't."

However, on Wednesday, the Texas Senate gave a preliminary approval and will need a final approval before it heads to the House, which could happen as early as tomorrow.

Gill says he believes these bills are coming up this week, on purpose.

"It's no coincidence that these bills are coming up on one of the busiest weeks for educators, which is the STAAR testing week," he says. "Teachers all across the state, yesterday and today have been dealing with state mandated testing. They're locked down, not able to make phone calls. We have- we are certain that's the reason that this is being brought up now. Because, for weeks it's been eligible to be heard and it hasn't been until this week, when they know the teachers are busy."

Senator Charles Perry offered this response:

"When debating the very important issue on how to educate our children, we must look to find new pathways for a child to succeed in school. However, we must take a measured approach when implementing new policies. Accordingly, the Texas Senate exempted rural Texas from the school voucher bill. While I hope this bill brings about new education opportunities to urban children, there are concerns about how the bill will affect rural Texas, where choices are limited and budgets are tight. I believe we must wait until more data is collected and reviewed to ensure this program will benefit rural school children. I am thankful that Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and Chairman Larry Taylor agreed to make these changes."

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick issued this statement today following the passage of Senate Bill 3:

"School choice is the civil rights issue of our time. Texas is one of 20 states that does not have a school choice program and Senate Bill 3 will finally change that. 

"Senate Bill 3 will provide educational options to almost 4 million students including 134,441 who are currently in failing schools. ESA's will provide parents with funds to pay for the educational needs of their child including private school tuition, tutoring and online courses. Tax Credit Scholarships also provide financial assistance to parents as well as up to $500 for academic support in a public school. Both programs make disabled students a priority. 

"A parent trigger has been added to Senate Bill 3 to allow parents in rural areas an opportunity to participate in the program. 

"A wide majority of Texans in every demographic group and both political parties support school choice. Making sure that every child has the opportunity to attend the school their parents believe is best for them is something the people of Texas elected us to do. I commend Senator Larry Taylor for his leadership on this critical issue and congratulate him on the passage of Senate Bill 3."   

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