I'm hearing from some of those affected by and concerned about Texas's negligence toward teachers and education. They read my March blog post, "Texas Betrays Teachers." The link has been shared quite a bit, and I thank those who've helped spread the word.
Many have asked, "What can I do?" Here's a list I just compiled, and I appreciate input as to how those concerned can take constructive action. Here's my list:
1. Watch the Texas Legislature carefully. Note if your area representative and senator are pro-teacher or don’t seem to care. Texas Tribune is a good one to follow.
2. If you haven’t already, join Texas Retired Teachers Association and your local retired teachers’ association—a good way to be active and get updates.
3. Write/email your Texas representative and senator expressing your concerns. Make it personal. Describe your situation. Keep writing them. “Once and done” won’t be enough.
4. The Windfall Exclusion Provision that takes two-thirds of our earned social security away and cancels spousal benefits would have to be addressed in Congress, so write your US representative and senator. Here’s a link on WEP, GPO (Government Pension Offset Provision), and legislative progress. Current bill introduced to Congress is HR 1205, "Social Security Fairness Act of 2017," sponsored by Rodney Davis (R-IL). New Senate bill S. 915, introduced by Sherrod Brown (D-OH), also needs our support. On this page, you can also get links and suggestions and join the fight:
For progress on legislation and information about your Representative and Senators, go to Congress.gov/
5. Get others involved. The legislators at the state and national level need to know we’re not going to blindly vote for them anymore.
US Representative Kevin Brady (R-Texas) was behind the repeal of WEP in a failed attempt at legislation. Representative Brady stated, "Our goal for many years has been to end the unfair WEP and provide equal treatment to all workers in Social Security." The latest bill to repeal is also sponsored by a Republican, but Democrat Texas Congress members supporting the bill outnumber Republicans.
My state Representative, Drew Darby (R-San Angelo) is very pro-teacher. I fell in love with him when he was being interviewed by the Texas Tribune and vouchers came up. The interviewer was giving some of the reasons people want a voucher program. Darby just looked at him steadily and finally said, "You can't put lipstick on that pig." Great summation by a great statesman.
This is to say, Republicans aren't ALL bad. But I would like to see Democrats in power in Texas, to see how their agenda would benefit all of us.