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center for civic & public policy improvement
Weekly Brief, May 18, 2021
Focus: Education

Oppose HB 3979...

HB 3979 threatens first amendment rights to freedom of speech, undermines existing Texas Education Agency (TEA) guidelines, and censors teachers' ability to provide an inclusive and equitable learning environment.

When we strip teachers of their professional judgment, we forfeit the educational vitality we prize. When we quell controversy for the sake of congeniality, we deprive democracy of its mentors. –– Gregory Hobbs, Jr. (in 1967 dissenting in Board of Education of Jefferson County School District R-1 v. Alfred Wilder)

On Tuesday, May 11, 2021, the Texas House voted to approve House Bill 3979 authored by Representative Steve Toth of The Woodlands. If passed by the Senate and signed into law, HB 3979 would limit teachers’ ability to educate students about race, gender, and justice in Texas public schools. Black students, students of color, young women, and other marginalized students often already feel left out of their history, social studies, and government class curriculums. This bill would cause further harm by disallowing important discussions about the reality of historical and present-day racism and sexism. The students of Texas deserve better.

HB 3979 (and its Senate companion SB 2202): 

  • Bans teachers from educating students on critical race theory (including a ban of any mandatory teaching of the 1619 Project, which is based in critical race theory, and examines the history and consequences of slavery, post-Civil War racist policies and laws as well as the contributions of Black Americans).

  • Restricts teachers' ability to discuss current events and public policy in the classroom 

  • Prohibits students from receiving class credit for work with organizations involved in lobbying, political activism, or civic engagement. 

  • Prohibits important schoolwide trainings for teachers, administrators, and staff on race and gender diversity and inclusion practices.  

  • Prohibits school districts, charter schools, or state agencies from seeking private funding to develop curriculum or materials for their social studies/history curriculum (which forces schools and the state to rely solely on tax money).  

Many teachers, students, administrators, district leaders, community members, and education advocacy organizations strongly oppose this bill. Organizations around the state signed on to a statement of opposition by the Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA). IDRA also prepared a document examining how HB 3979 conflicts with established proven effective teaching strategies and requirements from the Texas Education Agency (TEA).

Call to Action:

Take Action to Oppose HB 3979!

 Click here to email your Texas Representative and ask them to oppose HB 3979. 

  Click here to call your representative and urge them to vote NO on this dangerous bill. You can use these helpful talking points from the Texas Legislative Education Equity Coalition.

 If you are interested in assistance on how to use your own/your child’s story to advocate for education policies in the Texas Legislature, join one of IDRA’s Education Testimony Virtual Office Hours.

Pre-K is Critical...

Early childhood education is critical for the healthy development of three to four-year-olds and supports their preparation for formal education. The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) released its annual report, The State of Preschool 2020. Despite the importance of preschool for young children, most states spend too little per child to support high-quality, full-day pre-K, and “most do not come close to reaching all 3-and 4-year olds or even all low-income 3-and 4-year olds.” Additionally, they found that many of the state-funded preschool programs that reach the largest number of children meet only a few quality standards benchmarks (there are ten). Texas serves over 230,000 children and meets only four standards benchmarks. Of course, COVID-19 has had a disparate impact on state-funded preschool and that is addressed directly in the full report.

87th Texas Legislative Session: Early Childhood Education Bills 

Support HB 619
HB 619 seeks to strengthen the retention of the early childhood workforce by building a strategic plan to improve credentials, education, and fair compensation for early childhood educators. This bill was passed by the House and referred to the Senate. 

Support HB 41 
HB 41 requires school districts to maintain a 1 to 11 pre-k ratio with a class size of 22 with one certified teacher and teacher’s aide. This bill was passed by the House and referred to the Senate. 

Support HB 2256/SB 1101 
HB 2256 and SB 1101 create a new Certificate in Bilingual Special Education which allows for educators to bring together the education and skills needed to address the needs of students with disabilities in a way that makes sense culturally and linguistically. HB 2256 has been passed by the House and referred to the Senate. SB 1101 has been referred to the Senate Education Committee.

Find who represents you here and contact them to encourage their support of these bills.

TX Leaders: Vote NO on Chapter 313 Extension

CCPPI stands with our partners at Every Texan in opposition to HB 1556 and HB 4242 that extend Chapter 313. Chapter 313 is a school property tax abatement program that lets corporations out of contributing what they owe to Texas schools. According to Every Texan’s examination, Chapter 313 denies “Texans the funding we need to provide higher education, health, and social services, and public safety, giving the abatements to out-of-state shareholders and a few of the wealthiest Texans.”

Update: #FundTxEdRecovery Moving Forward...

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. Until the end of April 2021, Texas was one of only two states with billions in federal stimulus dollars (intended to provide pandemic relief to our public schools) that had not yet been committed to the schools. On April 28, 2021, Texas finally released $11.2 billion of the nearly $18 billion. This was thanks to your advocacy, urging from education advocates, and champions in the legislature. To learn more check out our last CCPPI Education Briefing, A Strong Texas Recovery Starts with the Recovery of our Texas Public Schools.

Call to Action:

HISD’s entitled projection from the pandemic funds is $804,456,215. You can provide feedback on how the funds should be used!

 Click here to provide feedback on how HISD should utilize the funds. For assistance with the survey, call (713) 556-4636.  

Affordable Housing Progress...

St. Charles Place Apartments Now Preleasing 

The St. Charles Place Apartments is located at 3113 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 soon. 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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