Thursday will be a big day in House; keep calling

Both the House and the Senate were inactive Tuesday, and not much is expected to happen Wednesday. But Thursday is scheduled to be a big day in the House, with two budget-related bills and four pieces of anti-teacher legislation on the agenda.

So, please keep urging your members to call their state representatives to demand they vote AGAINST House Bills 18, 19, 20 and 21. They can use the toll-free, 800-260-5444, number and leave a voice mail, if no one answers the phone at their rep’s office.

Here is a recap of HBs 18, 19, 20 and 21:

House Bill 18 by House Public Education Chairman Rob Eissler would allow school districts to routinely request increases in class sizes in K-4 from 22 to 25 and would require the state education commissioner to automatically grant their requests. This would do away with the current waiver process, which requires school districts to notify parents and hold public hearings on plans to increase class sizes above 22. This would exclude parental participation in the process and weaken an important, long-time standard of educational quality in Texas.

House Bill 19 by Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock of Killeen would remove a teacher’s right to a hearing before an independent examiner in cases of mid-year terminations during financial emergencies. It would allow school districts to hire their own lawyers to conduct these hearings, weakening teachers’ procedural safeguards.

House Bill 20 by Rep. Dan Huberty of Humble would change the deadline for notification of non-renewal of a teacher’s contract from the 45th day before the last day of instruction to 15 days before the last day of instruction. The same change would apply to probationary teachers who are terminated. This change obviously would give laid off teachers less time to find new jobs for the next school year.

House Bill 21 by Rep. Mark Shelton of Fort Worth would permanently remove seniority as a factor in determining teacher layoffs when districts impose reductions in force. This would remove a valuable protection for Texas’ most experienced and some of its best teachers.