Monday, April 15, 2019

ANNOUNCEMENT: GYO Educator Texas (HB 3893)—Gets Heard on Wed., April 17, 2019 in the Texas House Public Higher Education Committee

Great news, my friends.  Our Grow Your Own Educator bill, House Bill 3893, is getting heard this Wednesday, April 17, 2019 in the Public Higher Education Committee at the Texas State Legislature.  
Texas State Rep. Ana-María Ramos

Co-authored by State Representatives Ana-María Ramos (D-Dallas) and Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas), HB 3893 exempts qualifying students from tuition and fee expenses for both teacher paraprofessionals and high school students in the state of Texas with a demonstrated need for financial assistance to attend and work toward certification in an institution of higher education.  Successful applicants take courses in one or more subject areas where critical teacher shortages exist, including bilingual education, English as a Second Language; Mathematics, Elementary and Secondary Level Special Education, and other areas as determined by the Texas Education Agency (TEA).

Texas State Rep. Rafael Anchia
The hearing begins at 8AM in E1.014 (annex at the Texas state capitol).  As you can see from the list of bills below, however, it probably won't come up until later in the morning or day.  I plan on getting there around 8AM to fill out a card electronically at the kiosk located near the hearing room.

After electronically filling out a card at the kiosk, you, as a witness would have the choice either to stay or not stay—and hopefully to stay if you have the time.  It's always that way at the legislature: One hurries up to wait.  This is unavoidable as the legislators have many bills  that they need to hear throughout the day and it all takes time.  Sometimes they hear the bills sequentially.  Other times, they hear bills out  of order.  One never quite knows until the day of.

Whether or not you get to testify, if you have something in writing that you would like to share with the committee, you can leave 12 copies with the clerk in room E1.014 located in the underground annex of the Texas State Capitol where the hearing is to take place.  If you plan on being there all day, remember that after 5PM, the place  is a food desert and so you may want to take snacks with you or be sure to grab a meal at the Capitol Grill.

The capitol is a maze and it takes time to find everything, especially if it's your first time.  Unfortunately, no one can take on this task of either signing up for you at the kiosk or registering a vote.  Nor can you do this remotely online.  That said, this is democracy at work and all of us have a responsibility—whether we meet it or not—to be a voice and to work in the best interest of the Common Good which I am confident HB 3893, if passed, will accomplish.  

If you cannot attend the hearing, then please still do Texas’ future a favor and call whoever represents you and tell them to support HB 3893.  If you don't know who represents you, go to this link to find out:

Special thanks to Patty Quinzi and the Texas AFT for their crucial support of this legislation.  And special thanks, as well, to State Representatives Ana-María Ramos and Rafael Anchia.  You can read more about HB 3893 and its Senate companion bill SB2425, authored by Senator José Meléndez—to whom we also owe a debt of gratitude—here.

Sí se puede! Yes we can!

-Angela Valenzuela


COMMITTEE:    Higher Education TIME & DATE:  8:00 AM, Wednesday, April 17, 2019 PLACE:       E1.014   CHAIR:       Rep. Chris Turner 

HB 132         González, Mary
Relating to a limitation on the amount of tuition charged by public institutions of higher education.
HB 998         Cortez           
Relating to the establishment of the Texas Promise Scholarship Program for certain students at participating two-year public institutions of higher education.
HB 1040        Meza | et al.     
Relating to the establishment of the Texas Promise Grant Program for certain students at two-year public institutions of higher education.
HB 1118        Swanson          
Relating to a requirement that public and private institutions of higher education provide certain cost and employment opportunity data for degree programs.
HB 2557        Schaefer         
Relating to information about certain veterans and their dependents reported by institutions of higher education to the Texas Veterans Commission.
HB 2887        Martinez Fischer  
Relating to the establishment of the Texas Promise Scholarship Program for certain students at participating two-year public institutions of higher education.
HB 3028        Talarico         
Relating to requirements for student identification cards issued by public institutions of higher education.
HB 3240        Meza             
Relating to a study by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board concerning the long-term effects of regulating tuition rates and amounts charged by public institutions of higher education.
HB 3395        Geren            
Relating to the protection of expressive activities at public institutions of higher education.
HB 4175        Wilson           
Relating to restrictions on the method of providing public speaking or similar courses by public institutions of higher education.
HB 4586        Anchia           
Relating to certain academic programs and projects undertaken by public institutions of higher education at an off-campus academic or research site or a similar location.

Persons with disabilities who plan to attend this meeting and who may need assistance, such as a sign language interpreter, are requested to contact Stacey Nicchio at (512) 463-0850, 72 hours prior to the meeting so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

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