Prepare your PTA for 87th session with Texas PTA's webinars
In only 64 days, the Texas Legislature will convene for regular session and start making decisions that will impact the health, safety, and future of our students. PTA must be a thunderous voice this session! To prepare, we have scheduled two webinars in November (starting this Friday) to preview our legislative priorities and discuss what your PTA can start doing now within your own community. Please register at the following links and plan to join us!
November 13, 12:00 noon
The Policy Issues  |  Register Here
A look at Texas PTA's legislative priorities for the 87th Texas Legislature, which encompass: supporting student success, health and safety, meaningful assessment and accountability, and strengthening public schools. Visit Texas PTA online here to preview the legislative priorities.

November 18, 12:00 noon
How to Advocate Before and During the Texas Legislative Session  |  Register Here
A lot can be done from within your own community, far removed from the steps of the Capitol. Learn how to be a thunderous voice for Texas students!

If registration fills up or you are unable to attend the live event, recordings will be made available.
Little change in the state legislature after elections
Last week’s elections in Texas resulted in few changes overall to the balance of power in either the Texas Senate or House. Senator Pete Flores (R-Pleasanton) was defeated by Representative Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio) reducing the size of the Republican majority by one. In the House, Democrats hoped to increase their numbers by at least nine but were unsuccessful in that goal. There was no change in the overall numbers of Republicans (83) and Democrats (67). The race to become Speaker of the Texas House began several days ago and has been decided. Representative Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) has enough pledges from both parties to secure the election on the first day of the session, January 12, 2021.
Texas PTA partners with coalition, backs legislative priorities
to end obesity epidemic
Texas PTA has been a Steering Committee member of the Partnership for a Healthy Texas (PFHT) since 2006. PFHT develops and promotes policies, and supports evidence-based programs, that prevent obesity and improve the health of Texas communities. Check out the priorities for the upcoming legislative session here.
We are proud to work with a coalition of more than 50 organizations committed to ending the obesity epidemic in our state, especially at a time when obesity prevention has proven to be lifesaving. While the 87th session presents challenges unlike any other, we will work with the PFHT to ensure that the health of Texans is a priority for state legislators. 
R E L A T E D 
On Tuesday, November 10, 12:00 - 2:00 pm, the Partnership for a Healthy Texas will host a virtual briefing for lawmakers, their staff, and other external stakeholders to present its agenda for the 87th session. Register here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information to join the Zoom meeting. Receive frequent updates from PFHT by signing up as a member.
Texas schools participate in pilot program for COVID-19 rapid testing
Last month, Governor Abbott announced the creation of a COVID-19 Rapid Testing Pilot Program for Texas school systems. This program will help schools conduct rapid tests of both symptomatic and asymptomatic district employees and students — with the written permission of their parents — to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on campuses. The launch of the pilot program will include eight participating school systems with plans to significantly ramp up the program across the state.
Texas PTA forms partnership to close digital divide
Texas PTA has joined with the Greater Houston Partnership to co-found the Texas Digital Access Coalition (TDAC) and advocate for reliable, accessible, and affordable connectivity for students and families. For more information, check out Addressing the Digital Divide on The Voice.

As partners to close the connectivity gap, both Texas PTA and TDAC have released legislative priorities, respectively, addressing the digital divide for the upcoming session. To read TDAC's priorities, click here.

Health education TEKS approach final review
For the first time in 22 years, the State Board of Education (SBOE) has been engaged in updating the curriculum standards for health education taught in schools. Known as the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), these standards are the minimum criteria that students must be taught in health courses in Texas public schools. This update provides an extraordinary opportunity to ensure that all students receive current information to keep them physically and mentally safe. 
Texas PTA submitted comments to the SBOE twice – once in July and once in September. The TEKS were debated and preliminarily adopted when the SBOE met in mid-September. Overall, the draft that will move forward for final review is strong and includes standards teaching the value of immunizations, the dangers of vaping, the importance of exercise and healthy eating, and the reproductive and sexual health strand. The proposed standards are medically accurate and age-appropriate, teaching boundaries and respect from an early age.
A final vote on the revised Health Education TEKS will take place November 17-20, 2020
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