MARCH 2021 EDITION
We have now passed the halfway point of the 87th Legislative Session, and bills are flying! Committee hearings are stretching into the night as lawmakers push bills through the process. With less than two months left in this session, now is the time to advocate for quality education policy. At YES Prep, we are in continual contact with our Houston-area lawmakers to ensure that the needs of our students and families are well represented.
Anti- Charter Discrimination Bills Pass Committee
Charters are often subject to burdensome city-level regulations that don’t apply to traditional ISDs. YES Prep was affected by this when we were asked to comply with a signage regulation that was written for private businesses--- not for public schools. Wrapping charter schools in red tape is one of the ways that anti-charter advocates seek to limit public schools like YES Prep.
Thankfully, legislation is being offered that would prevent this sort of city-level discrimination against charters. SB 28 by Senator Bettencourt and HB 1348 by Representative Deshotel would both prohibit this practice. Both bills have passed out of committee and are headed to the floor for a vote!
Representative Morales Connects with YES Prep Teachers
Thank you to Representative Christina Morales who recently honored Colleen Bryant, an art teacher at YES Prep Southeast Elementary, with a House Resolution! The resolution was recognizing her student’s win at the Houston Rodeo. Representative Morales also partnered with YES Prep White Oak teacher Ronald Castro to advocate for her bill to increase student access to ethnic studies courses. We’re thankful to Representative Morales for engaging with our YES Prep community and representing the needs of our students and families.
COVID-19 Recovery Bills
Several bills are pending that would help public schools recover from the disastrous effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. HB 4545 and HB 4465 by Chairman Harold Dutton would create grant programs to fund COVID-19 learning loss. The grants would cover a wide range of COVID-related solutions including supplemental learning, air quality improvements, and technology costs. SB 27 and HB 1468 by Chairman Larry Taylor and Representative Keith Bell, respectively, allow schools to continue to provide virtual learning options. As vaccinations increase and Texas heads toward yet another new normal, these critical bills will allow public schools to recover and thrive. SB 27 is not yet scheduled for a hearing. HB 4545, HB 4465, and HB 1468 have all been heard in committee. After a committee vote, they’ll head to the House floor for a vote.
At this point, bills are moving through the process very quickly. As soon as bills that affect charters are heard in a committee hearing (the first major step in a bill’s journey), we start tracking them on the YES Prep Advocacy page. That tracker is live, so feel free to check in on it anytime.
Stand with Public Charter Schools
Every day, Texas public charter schools like YES Prep are changing lives. Our students deserve educational opportunities and an incredible community of educators is delivering for them. Right now, lawmakers are hearing from charter opponents while preparing to pass laws that will impact our schools. So we need to stand together. We must be heard. Sign this petition to show you stand with our school. Please share this with your friends and family! Every voice should be heard.
YES Prep's Advocacy Page
You can visit our YES Prep Advocacy Page for information throughout the session! There you’ll find our bill tracker, key information about charters, and ways that you can get involved in our advocacy efforts.
If you have any questions about our advocacy efforts, reach out to Sarah Landsman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 31 - Sine Die (Last Day of Session)
June 20 - Veto Deadline
August 30 - Bills go into effect