Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Let’s Promote A Culture Of Voting And Strengthen Our Democracy In Texas Schools!

From my friend, Laura Yeager with Texas Educators Vote.  She provides a great news bulletin on how we can promote a culture of voting and thereby strengthen our democracy in Texas and Texas schools.

And remember, the last day to register to vote for the November 2018 general election is October 9, 2018.

-Angela Valenzuela

July 19, 2018

Texas Educators Vote Update

Start the school year off promoting a culture of voting and strengthening democracy.
As you prepare for the 2018-2019 school year, I hope you feel pride in the work you are doing to serve every student who will walk through your doors over the coming months. Your work is vital to the future of each of those children, and also to the health of your community, state, and country as functioning democracies. You consistently do whatever it takes to provide the best possible education to each child in spite of reductions in funding, growing unfunded mandates, and an accountability system that forces you to focus on short-term test results over more meaningful measures that better reflect the strengths and needs of your students and your community. Pile on rising health care costs, shrinking retirement benefits, and an all-out assault on public education and you can feel the stress eating away at our educators and students. Teachers around the country are waking up and realizing they had better vote before it is too late. Texans (including educators) have not traditionally prioritized civic engagement, but it is high time that change. The sleeping giant needs to guzzle some serious caffeine and jolt itself awake NOW.

Supporting public education and promoting a culture of voting are the opposite of revolutionary. In fact, they are at the heart of the Texas identity. Not only does the Texas Constitution clearly state that “it is the duty of the Legislature to establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of free public schools,” it also asserts that the “general diffusion of knowledge is essential to the preservation of the liberties and rights of the people.” This is serious business. Public education, which is at the heart of preserving the liberties and rights of the people, is under attack. 
If that isn’t reason enough to make sure every individual working in your district and every eligible student is registered and then votes, then I will remind you that there is a Texas law requiring you to register staff and students twice a year, and that civics, citizenship, and voting appear every single year in the social studies TEKS. There is truly nothing more patriotic than participating in our democracy and the way to do that is through being engaged citizens, and modeling civic engagement and voting for Texas students.

If you are looking for a theme for your convocation, I urge you to embrace the theme of citizenship and democracy. What better way to build a sense of community than promoting democracy, civic engagement, and voting? Students and educators are struggling with low morale and high anxiety, amid heightened expectations and shrinking resources. Many feel isolated and beaten down by this and they are growing fearful of violence. Fostering a spirit of community and citizenship is a sure antidote to the isolation many are feeling.

Each week, we will send you an update with a few simple “to do’s”, helpful links, and deadline reminders. We will propose fun competitions you can introduce in your district to help you make this fun. Promoting civic engagement is not only legal, it is a requirement of the state, and you should feel proud and confident in your commitment to doing so.

To Do: 1. Make sure new staff hires are given voter registration forms along with other district forms as a matter of procedure.
2. Encourage returning staff to check the status of their voter registration and update it if they have moved or anything has changed.
3. Make sure you have requested voter registration forms (for eligible students and staff) from the Secretary of State or your county elections office. High School Voter Registration Card Order Form Find your county elections offices here.
 Invite your local elections office to train your social studies teachers to become deputy voter registrars (Thanks, Austin ISD for modeling this behavior!)
5. Work with your local League of Women Voters to help register staff, eligible students, parents, and community members at school and neighborhood events.Find your local league.

Key Links:1. Check voter registration status: or
2. Apply for voter registration: or
3. streamlines and simplifies the voter registration process by generating a completed voter registration application, and a stamped addressed envelope so you just have to fill in the info, print it out, sign it, and mail it in!
 Order voter registration cards from Secretary of State: Order Online
5. Find your county elections office here.
6. Share the Texas Educators Vote website where staff and students can check their registration, apply to register to vote, find key dates and deadlines, and other important and helpful resources designed to create a culture of voting.
7. Follow us on Facebook @TexasEducatorsVote and Twitter @TxEdVote for non-partisan posts about elections and public education.

The last day to register to vote in the November general election is October 9th.

A culture of voting is something to be proud of, and so is a commitment to serving the 5.4 million Texas children who are counting on the state of Texas to provide them with a rich, relevant, and rewarding public education. Thank you for your work! Let us proudly move forward into an era of increased civic engagement and support for one of the most fundamental pillars of democracy - public education.Sincerely,

Laura Yeager
Texas Educators Vote

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