CORPUS CHRISTI (KIII NEWS) - A Teacher's Association group says there are a number of anti-education bills that are still being considered by lawmakers in Austin.
The Association of Texas Professional Educators said they are still fighting to keep those issues from becoming law because they are a threat to public schools and the teaching profession.
ATPE was in Corpus Christi Monday trying to get teachers to sign up for their organization.
Stephanie Jacksis, the media relations specialist for the group, had a booth set up at Calallen High School during a new teacher orientation event. She said the Association is fighting several bills before lawmakers during the special session that are not in the best interests of public education and have teachers worried.
One of those bills involve giving teachers a $1,000 raise, but the State wouldn't be handing over any money to fund that directive. Another issue the group is fighting is an effort to prevent union and association dues from being taken out of teachers' paychecks. ATPE said police, fire and other unions are exempt from the bill but teachers groups are not.
If it passes, the Association feels it will impact membership and hurt their ability to continue to represent teachers.
School vouchers is another concern. ATPE doesn't believe public dollars should go to private schools because it's not in the best interests of schools, parents, teachers or students.
"The real question is not whether parents should have a choice, because they're advertising it as school choice," Jacksis said. "Parents already have a choice. The real debate is should the State be funding public and private schools? In that case we say no, you're already not funding public schools to the level that it needs to be. Why are you trying to funnel more money to private schools? It's going to strangle public education and really leave us behind."
The Senate Bill 2 voucher program is aimed at students with special needs. The State would pay up to $10,000 for about 6,000 students to attend private school to get extra help.
The ATPE isn't sure they will be receiving any extra help because private schools don't have the same accountability as public schools and could simply decide not to bring in a speech therapist for a child by saying they really didn't need one, whereas school districts have to do those things.
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