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STATE.gif
 
Fact is, if people believe in the perfectibility (not perfection, but the perfectibility) of a system and take on a cause, they can accomplish good things. Sure it’s hard work. But if we work hard, we can change things to our liking.
— Ann Richards, former Governor of Texas
 

CHERYL, WE NEED INTRODUCTORY TEXT HERE

 
 
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step one
[WHAT] YOU NEED TO KNOW

THE TEXAS LEGISLATURE


Put an update here about the 85th lege and special education bills? CHRISTINE TO PROVIDE COPY.



There's lot of hate out there for a text that amounts to little more than garbled words in an old language. The villagers are out there with a vengeance to get that Frankenstein, wielding torches and pitchforks, wanting to tar and feather it at the least, running it out of town in shame.

One of the villagers, Kristina Halvorson from Adaptive Path, holds steadfastly to the notion that design can’t be tested without real content:

I’ve heard the argument that “lorem ipsum” is effective in wireframing or design because it helps people focus on the actual layout, or color scheme, or whatever. What kills me here is that we’re talking about creating a user experience that will (whether we like it or not) be DRIVEN by words. The entire structure of the page or app flow is FOR THE WORDS.

step two
[WHO] YOU NEED TO KNOW
  • TEXASVOTERS
  • The Legislative Branch

    Legislative Branch

    The Legislative Branch of Texas
    •Consists of two chambers - the House of Representatives and the Senate.

    •Considered to be the most powerful branch of the Texas Government.

    •This branch is empowered to make laws.

    •The Texas Legislature meets in regular session on the second Tuesday in January of each odd-numbered year.
      • HOUSEof
        REPRESENTATIVES
        Learn More
      • ×
        The Texas House of Representatives
        What is the Texas House of Representatives?
      • The House (as it is often called) consists of 150 members who are elected from single-member districts.

      • Representatives serve 2 year terms and there are currently no limits on the number of terms one can serve.

      • The Speaker - presiding officer over the House - is elected by the Representatives in the House. It is not a statewide elected post.

      • According to the most recent census figures (and the Texas House of Representatives website), "the ideal House district population is 113,243, as opposed to an ideal population of 547,952 for each Senate district."

      • "Because of its larger size, the House tends to maintain a closer link to local constituent concerns than the Senate. For this reason, the state constitution requires that all bills increasing taxes or raising revenue for use by the state, originate in the House of Representatives."

      • Who You Need to Know in the House
      • Speaker of the House, Joe Straus (R-District 121)

        The Honorable Joe Straus is a native Texan, representing District 121 in the San Antonio area. He was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2005, and selected, by his fellow House members, as Speaker in January 2009. He is currently serving his 4th term in this post, one of the longest in Texas history.

        The Speaker of the House is the presiding officer in the House of Representatives. He is selected by a roll call vote on the first day of every new Congress, and is held by the majority party.

        Some of the Speaker's responsibilities include:

        •Maintain order during floor debate, recognizing legislators who wish to speak and ruling on procedural matters;
        •Sign all bills and joint resolutions passed by the legislature;
        •Appoint the membership of each standing committee, subject to rules on seniority, and to designate the chair and vice chair for each committee;
        •Refer all proposed legislation to committee.

        Speaker Straus has 2 offices in Texas:

        Office Location Address City State Zip Phone Map
        Austin Room 2W.13, P.O. Box 2910 Austin TX 78768 (512) 463-1000 MAP
        District 121 7373 Broadway, Suite 202-A San Antonio TX 78209 (210) 828-4411 MAP

        Contact Speaker Straus via email HERE.

        Follow Speaker Straus:

      • Public Education Committee Chairman, Dan Huberty (R-Houston)

      • Who Represents You in Austin, Texas?

        A crucial part of reform advocacy includes contacting those who represent you. Elected officials are your voice in Austin and they need to know what's important to you.

        If you don't know who your Representative is, follow our link below to find out quick and easy.

        Be sure to return back here to learn [HOW] you can use this information to affect special education reform in Texas!


      • THESENATE
        Learn More
      ×
      The Texas Senate
      What is the Texas Senate?
    • The upper house of the United States Congress.

    • Two senators are elected from each state, regardless of state population, guaranteeing each state equal representation.

    • Senators are elected for six-year terms.

    • The Senate tends to respond more directly than the House of Representatives to issues of national, rather than local, concern, though both houses of Congress participate in all aspects of legislation and policymaking.

    • The Senate has the exclusive right to try cases of impeachment, approve presidential appointments, confirm treaties, and elect a vice president if no candidate receives a majority from the Electoral College.

    • The Vice President of the United States serves as presiding officer of the Senate.

    • Senate Leadership
    • President of the Senate, Mike Pence

      As mandated by the US Constitution, the Vice President of the United States presides over the Senate.

      He has several responsibilities within the chamber, including:
      •Breaking tie votes (which seldom occurs);
      •Running meetings of the Senate, much like a chairperson runs a meeting;
      •Making sure that the rules of the Senate, known as the standing orders, are obeyed; and
      •Participating in special ceremonial occasions, such as the opening of Parliament.

      While being the President of the Senate sounds like a big job, in reality, it's not. The true leaders come from the floor and are elected from within parties.

    • Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

      The Majority Leader is elected by the political party with the most Senators (currently the Republicans). The majority leader holds alot of power in the Senate, including:
      •Setting the agenda;
      •Scheduling debates and votes; and
      •Acting as chief spokesperson and strategist for the party.

      By rule, the Majority Leader is given priority in obtaining recognition to speak on the floor of the Senate.

    • Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

      The leader of the political party that holds a minority of seats in Senate (currently the Democrats). Selected by his/her own party, the Minority Leader acts as chief spokesperson and strategist for the party.

    • Texas' US Senators
    • John Cornyn, US Senator (R-TX)

      Senator Cornyn was first elected to the United States Senate on Nov. 5, 2002, and was reelected to his 3rd term in 2014. He will be up for reelection in 2020.

      Senator Cornyn has 7 offices around Texas and in Washington, DC:


      Office Location Address City State Zip Phone Map
      Central Texas Chase Tower, 221 W. Sixth Street, Ste 1530 Austin TX 78701 (512) 469-6034 MAP
      North Texas 5001 Spring Valley Rd, Ste 1125 E Dallas TX 75244 (972) 239-1310 MAP
      Southeast Texas 5300 Memorial Dr, Ste 980 Houston TX 77007 (713) 572-3337 MAP
      South/Central Texas 600 Navarro, Ste 210 San Antonio TX 78205 (210) 224-7485 MAP
      East Texas Regions Bank Building, 100 E. Ferguson St, Ste 1004 Tyler TX 75702 (903) 593-0902 MAP
      South Texas 222 East Van Buren, Ste 404 Harlingen TX 78550 (956) 423-0162 MAP
      West Texas Wells Fargo Center, 1500 Broadway, Ste 1230 Lubbock TX 79401 (806) 472-7533 MAP
      Washington, DC 517 Hart Senate Office Bldg. Washington DC 20510 (202) 224-2934 MAP

      Follow Senator Cornyn:



      According to his website, "If you are visiting while the Senate is in session, you are invited to attend a Texas Thursday Coffee. Thursday Coffees are held every Thursday the Senate is in session and begin at 9:30 a.m. We recommend arriving 15 to 20 minutes early. To RSVP online, please click here. To RSVP by mail or phone, fill out and returnthis form or contact our Washington, D.C. office at 202-224-2934."



  • Executive Branch

    The Executive Branch of Texas
    •The role of the executive branch is to carry out and enforce the laws of the State.

    •Texas has a plural executive branch system, which limits the power of the Governor. Except for the Secretary of State (who is appointed by the Governor), all executive officers are elected independently, making them directly answerable to the citizens of Texas, not the Governor.

    • This branch lacks cohesion and hamstrings the Governor because of this plural system, but this is what the writers of the Texas Constitution intended.

    •Executive Agencies account for 99% of the Texas budget.
      • THEGOVERNOR
        Learn More
      • ×
        The Governor of Texas
        Who is the Governor?
      • Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas (R-TX)

        The governor blah blah blah.


      • What is the role of the Governor?
      • The Governor blah blah blah is one of the most influential officials in Washington, D.C.

      • He/she is the second in succession to the presidency, after the vice president.

      • Did You Know?

        Tokyo is the capital of Japan.


      • LIEUTENANTGOVERNOR
        Learn More
      • ×
        The Lieutenant Governor
        Who is the Lt. Governor?
      • The House (as it is often called) is the lower chamber of the US Congress.

      • With 435 popularly elected officials, the House is the most representative body in the federal government.

      • House seats are apportioned relative to each state's population. For example, the Texas US House delegation currently has 36 representatives, while Rhode Island has 2.

      • Because of its larger size, the House tends to maintain a closer link to local constituent concerns than the Senate, though both chambers participate in virtually all aspects of legislation and policymaking.

      • What is the role of the Lt. Governor?
      • The Speaker of the House is one of the most influential officials in Washington, D.C.

      • He/she is the second in succession to the presidency, after the vice president.

      • Did You Know?

        Tokyo is the capital of Japan.


      • STATE
        BOARDofEDUCATION
        Learn More
      ×
      State Board of Education
      What is the State Board of Education?
    • The House (as it is often called) is the lower chamber of the US Congress.

    • With 435 popularly elected officials, the House is the most representative body in the federal government.

    • House seats are apportioned relative to each state's population. For example, the Texas US House delegation currently has 36 representatives, while Rhode Island has 2.

    • Because of its larger size, the House tends to maintain a closer link to local constituent concerns than the Senate, though both chambers participate in virtually all aspects of legislation and policymaking.

    • Who You Need to Know on the Board
    • The Speaker of the House is one of the most influential officials in Washington, D.C.

    • He/she is the second in succession to the presidency, after the vice president.

    • How are State Board of Education members Elected?

      Tokyo is the capital of Japan.


  • Judicial Branch

    The Judicial Branch of Texas
    •The role of this branch is to interpret the law and resolve legal disputes.

    •It is the smallest branch of state government.

    • The function of the Texas courts is to (1) resolve issues concerning constitutional provisions, the intent of a statute, and the actions of an executive agency, as well as (2) resolve disputes arising between citizens of the State.

    •Click HERE to learn more about the Texas Judiciary System.
      • TEXASSUPREMECOURT
        Learn More
      • ×
        The Texas Supreme Court
        Who is the President?
      • The House (as it is often called) is the lower chamber of the US Congress.

      • With 435 popularly elected officials, the House is the most representative body in the federal government.

      • House seats are apportioned relative to each state's population. For example, the Texas US House delegation currently has 36 representatives, while Rhode Island has 2.

      • Because of its larger size, the House tends to maintain a closer link to local constituent concerns than the Senate, though both chambers participate in virtually all aspects of legislation and policymaking.

      • What is the role of the President?
      • The Speaker of the House is one of the most influential officials in Washington, D.C.

      • He/she is the second in succession to the presidency, after the vice president.

      • How is the President Elected?

        Tokyo is the capital of Japan.


      • COURTof
        CRIMINALAPPEALS
        Learn More
      ×
      Other Federal Courts
      What are the Texas Court of Appeals?
    • The House (as it is often called) is the lower chamber of the US Congress.

    • With 435 popularly elected officials, the House is the most representative body in the federal government.

    • House seats are apportioned relative to each state's population. For example, the Texas US House delegation currently has 36 representatives, while Rhode Island has 2.

    • Because of its larger size, the House tends to maintain a closer link to local constituent concerns than the Senate, though both chambers participate in virtually all aspects of legislation and policymaking.

    • Leadership
    • The Speaker of the House is one of the most influential officials in Washington, D.C.

    • He/she is the second in succession to the presidency, after the vice president.

    • More Info

      Tokyo is the capital of Japan.


    TEXASEDUCATIONAGENCY
    Learn More
×
The Texas Education Agency
What is the Texas Education Agency?
  • The House (as it is often called) is the lower chamber of the US Congress.

  • With 435 popularly elected officials, the House is the most representative body in the federal government.

  • House seats are apportioned relative to each state's population. For example, the Texas US House delegation currently has 36 representatives, while Rhode Island has 2.

  • Because of its larger size, the House tends to maintain a closer link to local constituent concerns than the Senate, though both chambers participate in virtually all aspects of legislation and policymaking.

  • Who You Need to Know at TEA
  • The Speaker of the House is one of the most influential officials in Washington, D.C.

  • He/she is the second in succession to the presidency, after the vice president.

  • Contact Information

    Tokyo is the capital of Japan.


      SCHOOLDISTRICTS
      Learn More
    ×
    Texas School Districts
    General Information About Texas School Districts
  • The House (as it is often called) is the lower chamber of the US Congress.

  • With 435 popularly elected officials, the House is the most representative body in the federal government.

  • House seats are apportioned relative to each state's population. For example, the Texas US House delegation currently has 36 representatives, while Rhode Island has 2.

  • Because of its larger size, the House tends to maintain a closer link to local constituent concerns than the Senate, though both chambers participate in virtually all aspects of legislation and policymaking.

  • Find Your District
  • The Speaker of the House is one of the most influential officials in Washington, D.C.

  • He/she is the second in succession to the presidency, after the vice president.

  • What are State Education Agencies?

    Tokyo is the capital of Japan.


    WHO REPRESENTS YOU IN AUSTIN?


    More important than knowing how our state government works or who's in charge is knowing who YOUR elected state representatives are. If you don't know your's, follow our link below to find out quick and easy.

    Be sure to return back here to learn [HOW] you can use this information to affect special education reform.

    step three
    [HOW] TO GET INVOLVED

    Guide to Effective Public Testimony


    Okay, so you can probably make a long list of things you’d rather do than speak in a public meeting, like have a root canal, eat a live frog, or die. But if we want to reform Texas special education, we have to start speaking up to our school boards, to our state lawmakers and agencies, and to our federal government. We can’t guarantee that you won’t be nervous, but if you follow these tips, we promise it won’t be that bad – and you might actually enjoy it.

    • 1. Write your testimony.
      Unless you are a trained and experienced trial lawyer, write your testimony in advance. Do not try to speak off the cuff. You’ll be nervous and you’ll forget what you were going to say. Trust us on this.


      • 2. Use this outline to write your testimony:
           a. Identify yourself and why you are speaking.
           b. Define the problem.
           c. Explain why this matters to you.
           d. Ask for the action you want.
           e. Thank the board.


        • 3. Practice. Practice. Practice.
          Read your statement out loud and time it. Most public comments are limited to 2-3 minutes (find this out in advance). If you go over the time, you will get beeped and that is flustering. Cut if necessary. Then practice, practice, practice. Read in front of a mirror. The more prepared you are, the less nervous you will be.


          • 4. Dress like you mean business.
            You don’t have to look like a banker, but wearing appropriate clothing gives you credibility. Impressions matter.


            • 5. Make eye contact.
              Because you have practiced, you know what you’re going to say well enough that you can look each board member in the eyes at least once.


              • 6. It’s okay if your voice shakes.
                When you go to the podium, take a deep breath. That thing your heart is doing where it feels like it’s coming out of your chest is just adrenaline. Remember that those people sitting there are just people, just like you. They’d be nervous too if they were where you are. No one is going to judge you for being nervous, and everyone – even if they don’t agree with you – is going to admire you for speaking up.


                • 7. Follow up by sending a written copy of your testimony by email.


                • 8. Be super proud of yourself. You’re making a difference.

    step four
    TXSER ACTION [ALERT!]

    NEED A STATE ACTION ALERT HERE


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    We envision a state in which all individuals with disabilities are identified, and receive an education that maximizes their future potential for post-secondary education, employment, community participation, and independent living.

    Copyright 2017 Texans for Special Education Reform. All rights reserved.       TxSER Privacy Policy.