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center for civic & public policy improvement
Weekly Brief, April 13, 2021
Focus: Education

"A Strong Texas Recovery Starts with the Recovery of our Texas Public Schools" 

Across Texas, the U.S, and the globe, the COVID-19 pandemic has put extra strain and responsibility on teachers, students, and parents to continue to learn and grow despite the many difficulties associated with remote learning. Issues include accessibility and connectivity, pandemic-related trauma and grief, and for Black families, as we explored last month, a deep mistrust in the public school system that is keeping families from wanting to return to in-person learning.

Navigating the Texas Pandemic Recovery:
Teacher Recommendations for a New Normal 

Teachers have long advocated and agitated for reform and structural changes to create an education system that is equitable for all students. Recently, a group of 50 diverse Texas teachers came together to advocate for change in education policy on their student’s behalf; their report was released in February 2021. The researchers collected qualitative data from others teachers to explore how schools and districts could “utilize lessons learned from an unrelenting pandemic to positively impact post-pandemic education practices.” Their recommendations were to:

  • Establish statewide, high-quality, high-speed connectivity by investing in broadband infrastructure

    This is essential for hybrid learning models and to equitably allow students to participate in e-learning.  
  • Support students’ and teachers’ social, emotional, and mental health needs by providing access to more campus-based professionals and high-quality training

    Teachers report they need more support to better understand and respond to their students’ emotional needs. 
  • Encourage innovation in instructional and school design by incentivizing utilization of Senate Bill 1882.

    Teachers see the merit in utilizing technology after the pandemic, but they need proper training to be able to do so well. 
  • Protect statewide education funding by maintaining House Bill 3 (2019) in its entirety

    Teachers can not effectively educate students without adequate funding, especially during/post-pandemic. 

A Special Salute 


CCPPI works directly with two local Houston Third-Ward area schools: Blackshear and Lockhart Elementary Schools. We have first-hand knowledge of the devastating impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on these learning communities (staff, teachers, students and parents). As is often the case, these schools are just a snapshot of what many communities in historically marginalized areas have experienced.

Teachers and staff at Blackshear and Lockhart are going the extra mile to encourage parent engagement and student attendance, and to provide additional supports necessary to meet new found needs (mental health, food and water distribution, clothing distribution). We want to take a moment to salute Principal Alicia Lewis (Blackshear) and Principal Cameshia Emerson (Lockhart) and their teachers and staff members for going above and beyond during these challenging times.

Student Researchers Collect Data from Peers on COVID-19's Impact on Schooling...

Students also are leading advocacy efforts to improve the current state of education and equity barriers in their own schools. For example, the Intercultural Development Research Association began a student (high school and college) research team that conducted research in the San Antonio area to analyze the needs of students and their families during the pandemic. Specifically, the student researchers choose to examine educational equity, home stressors, at-home learning, and discipline in school. Key findings included: 

  • Three out of four students reported struggling with mental wellness issues.

  • Students experienced additional burdens including poor internet connectivity, social isolation, and insufficient opportunities to take mental and physical breaks from remote classes.  

  • Students face pressure to maintain their education while also managing responsibilities like assisting their families, holding jobs, and dealing with healthcare needs outside of the classroom. 

Raise Your Hand Texas created a video with students to convey that when schools recover, so do students, families, and communities. They even brought a giant six-foot-tall stool to the Texas Capitol to make the message clear to lawmakers: Act now to #FundTxEdRecovery.

Three immediate critical funding actions to support Texas teachers, students, and parents are pictured to the right in the three-legged stool metaphor used by education advocates in the state.

The funding “legs” are: 

$19 billion in federal stimulus money intended to provide pandemic relief to Texas’s public schools have not yet been committed to schools. According to Just Fund It TX, Texas and New York are the only two states that have provided no additional funding to public schools during the pandemic. 


Call to Action:

 Sign-up for email or text alerts to stay informed on ways to stand with our public schools here

 Contact your legislator to encourage them to fully fund our TX public schools here

The Home-School Connection: Impact on Black Women...

Photo from Poynter about Atlanta mother, Asia Mitchell on juggling work and virtual schooling. 

All teaching is a collaboration between home and school, but with remote learning, there is a greater need for parents to be present to support students through the unique challenges of the virtual classroom. Women are overwhelmingly responsible for these types of caregiving and child care duties - particularly Black & Latinx women, who also bear the burden of being disproportionately relied upon by employers throughout the pandemic, exposing them at greater rates to the virus.

At the same time, these industries are also more likely to have laid-off workers. According to the analysis Black Women on the Frontline, by our CCPPI partners at UT’s IUPRA, income inequality and higher unemployment rates among Black women increase their susceptibility to poverty. According to the latest Jobs Report, Black women’s unemployment rate has risen to 8.9% compared to 5.2% for white women. Since women are more likely to be out of work than men, this is expected to further exacerbate the gender pay gap. In Texas, Black women are already paid only 58 cents for every dollar paid to white men.

Further complicating this problem is the lack of affordable child care, a system broken due to our societal ideas of gender, race, and work deserving of decent pay. To learn more, read Vox’s in-depth piece, One Weird Trick to Fix our Broken Child Care System.  

Support one of our local Third Ward Elementary Schools...

Affordable Housing Progress...

St. Charles Place Apartments Now Preleasing 

The St. Charles Place Apartments is located at 3131 St. Charles Street at Elgin. They consist of 20 residential units including 2 studios, 2 one bedroom units designed for individuals who are mobility impaired, and 16 one bedroom units. 
Rents range from $600 to $975. Proof of income is required as there are maximum income restrictions for all households.
For more information please contact Stress Free Property Solutions at

Completion of the One Emancipation Center (Affordable Housing Operations Center) has an anticipated completion of April 2021. It is located at 3131 Emancipation Ave., Houston, TX 77004.
This five-story building will house CCPPI and other agencies dedicated to affordable housing development, advocacy, and economic growth of the community. Those interested in lease information, renderings, and marketing materials, please contact our commercial realtor partners Ed Ryland, ARVO or Chip Horne, Cushman & Wakefield. 

Check out our Social Media pages below for updates on CCPPI’s work, local advocacy efforts, and news stories on the topics of housing, healthcare, education, and criminal justice and safety. 

The Center for Civic and Public Policy Improvement is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing policies that promote human, civic, social, and economic justice, and to taking the necessary action to affect progress in all areas of civic improvement throughout the culturally diverse communities
in the Southern United States.

Copyright © 2021 CCPPI, All rights reserved.

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