Yesterday, 100+ parents from across Texas converged on the Capitol building in Austin. They rallied outside the Capitol steps and roamed the halls of the building, speaking up together and asking their representatives to strengthen the Texas Parent Empowerment legislation so that parents can actually use the law. The way the current law is written, only two schools in the entire state of Texas are eligible!
Outside the Capitol, a lineup of powerful parent advocates and allies, such as Keisha Riley from Houston, spoke up about the unacceptable state of schools and the urgency of giving parents power to fix them. Joining them were two Democratic representatives from the House, Rep. Deshotel and HB 1727 sponsor Rep. Dutton, came out to address parents and lend their support.
I had the pleasure of accompanying Keisha and three other Houston parents to speak with four different legislative offices about the pending Parent Empowerment legislation. None of the parents had ever done legislative visits like this before, but they were a huge hit! Legislators and staff were clearly moved by their stories, and thanked the parents profusely for coming and speaking with them. Loretta, who has a son attending Yates High School in Houston, told each of them, “We are spending billions of dollars, but we still aren’t graduating our kids ready for college OR a career! We need more accountability.” Keisha told her personal story of desperately searching for a high performing school for her daughter next year, which so far she has not been able to find. Her five-year-old daughter gave me a detailed lesson on her favorite birds (bluejays) and animals (giraffes and dogs, I believe in that order).
Overall, parents conducted over 20 different lobby visits in one day, securing important additional support for their Parent Empowerment efforts. Our hats go off to the parents of Texas who woke up early and trekked three hours or more to the state Capitol to make their voices heard!