Tuesday, April 5, 2011

ACTION ALERT: Texas HB 6 With Vital Instructional Materials Funding- House is Voting April 6th!

The following is a legislative action alert I received today from Jennifer Bergland and TCEA Advocacy. It is reposted here with permission. HB 6 is the companion bill to SB 6 which I testified on before the Senate Education Committee last week. Even if you are reading this late in the day Tuesday, call your rep! I called last week on a different matter at 7:30 PM thinking I'd get voice mail, and I got a live person!

ACTION ALERT: Call your Representative today!

HB 6 will be voted on by the Texas House of Representatives on Wednesday morning.  Call your representative's office today and urge them to support this bill. Attached is a document that highlights the benefits of HB 6. This bill is vital for technology funding for Texas school districts.  

When you call, ask to speak to the legislative aide who handles education issues for the representative. 
  • Inform them that HB 6 will be voted on by the House on Wednesday (April 6th)
  • Ask them to vote for HB 6 and 
  • Oppose any amendment that might delay the implementation of the Instructional Materials Allotment. 
You can find out who your Representative is herehttp://www.capitol.state.tx.us/

You can find their contact information herehttp://www.house.state.tx.us/members/

You could also follow up with a quick email urging them to support the bill and email the attached document.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

Jennifer Bergland
Texas Computer Education Association
Director of Governmental Relations and Membership Services

In response to Jennifer's call to action, I called my representative's office on my lunch break today and spoke with one of his aides. Later, I sent this follow-up email to him:

Dear Representative Gonzales,

I am your constituent and I am contacting you today to

- ask you to vote for HB 6 which will come before the House for a vote on Wednesday, April 6th, and

- to oppose any amendments which will delay the institution of the Instructional Materials Allotment created by HB 6.

HB 6 deletes the word ''textbook'' from current education law and updates it to the phrase ''instructional materials''. It also establishes an Instructional Materials Allotment in place of the current textbook allotment, giving school districts more flexibility and local control in choosing the materials they feel are best suited to instructing their students in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).

As a taxpayer, I feel it is a better use of my tax dollars to allow districts to purchase the best materials for their students, whether they be traditional textbooks or digital content and the technology needed to deliver the content. It is a waste of my tax dollars to continue to purchase only textbooks which are often outdated by the time they are printed or which sit on shelves collecting dust because forward-thinking educators are using alternative materials to design instruction based on their students' learning needs.

As an educator, I believe the flexibility afforded by HB6 if it is passed will give my colleagues the opportunity to exercise their professional judgement in choosing instructional materials that will meet the needs of the students in their classrooms. It will also help us continue to work toward the goals Texas has set for its schools, which by 2020 includes students ''hav(ing) on-demand access to all appropriate digital resources and technologies to complete activities that have been seamlessly integrated into all core content areas, providing learning opportunities beyond the classroom that are not otherwise possible.''

(Above quote taken from Texas Education Agency 2010 Progress Report on the Long-Range Plan for Technology, 2006-2020; accessed from the TEA website).

For your additional information, please see the following documents:

Information on HB 6 from Texas Computer Education Association. (I shared this same document with your Chief of Staff Chris Sanchez when I visited your office at the Capitol on Monday, March 21st)

A copy of my personal testimony before the Senate Education Committee on SB6, the companion bill to HB6. The bills are very similar and my reasons for supporting SB6 are the same as my reasons for supporting HB6.

Thank you for taking time to read this information and your consideration of support for HB 6.

OK folks! Your turn! If you are a Texas educator, please email and call your Texas House Representative right away!