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After the Trump assassination attempt, defining democracy gets even harder; Trump picks Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, a once-fierce critic turned loyal ally, as his GOP running mate; DC residents push back on natural gas infrastructure buildup; and a new law allows youth on Medi-Cal to consent to mental health treatment.

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Former President Trump is injured but safe after an attempted assassination many condemn political violence. Democrats' fears intensify over Biden's run. And North Carolina could require proof of citizenship to vote.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

TX educators react to Lt. Gov. priorities for next legislative session

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Wednesday, April 24, 2024   

Texas Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick has released 57 "interim charges," the topics he wants Senate committees to study in preparation for the 89th legislative session next year.

Four charges are for the committee overseeing public education. They include improving reading and math readiness in grade school, and redesigning the state's standardized tests.

Eli Melandrez, government relations associate for the American Federation of Teachers-Texas, said educators are surprised the list does not include pay increases for teachers or controversial school vouchers, which use public money to pay for private schooling.

"It's interesting to see both of those key issues absent from the interim charges," Melandrez observed. "Across the state we've seen school closures; we've seen teachers being let go. We've seen a greater percentage of our teacher workforce as uncertified educators."

Two unsuccessful special sessions were held in the past few months, in an attempt to pass a school voucher proposal. Other charges for public schools include examining how school districts used COVID-19 funding, and monitoring the implementation of bills passed in the last session.

Patrick also directed the Higher Education Committee to analyze faculty senates, monitor bans on DEI policies at colleges and universities and revise policies for faculty tenure.

Melandrez noted their union is now affiliated with the American Association of University Professors and members are concerned the lieutenant governor is inserting his own political views into the education system.

"That's worrisome for us," Melandrez emphasized. "In public education and higher education, we are seeing a concerted effort to minimize educator voices."

Patrick also wants senators to review university antisemitism policies and protecting the First Amendment rights of faculty, staff and students. The next legislative session convenes Jan. 14, 2025.

Disclosure: Texas AFT contributes to our fund for reporting on Education, Livable Wages/Working Families, Mental Health, and Youth Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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"I truly love our Country, and love you all, and look forward to speaking to our Great Nation this week from Wisconsin," wrote Former President Donald Trump on social media. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

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