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ATPE Lobbyists Know How to Speak to Lawmakers

Association of Texas Professional Educators
Association of Texas Professional Educators

Date Posted: 9/03/2018

You might remember how, in 2017, the Texas legislature concluded another lively session with a special session bonus round to boot. But even when the legislature isn’t in session, the work of ATPE’s advocacy team never stops. Our team of dedicated and accomplished lobbyists meets with legislators regularly, testifies in hearings, provides up-to-the-minute legislative info, and lets ATPE members know when—and how—to stand up for their rights.

High school algebra teacher and ATPE member Clayton Riley recognizes the importance of being an advocate for education—and having your own advocacy team behind you. ATPE’s experienced lobbyists are pros at taking the concerns and priorities of our members and turning them into action at the Capitol. Riley has seen these efforts up close.

“I left teaching for a while to get my master’s in education policy and worked at the Capitol for two years,” explains Riley. “I saw firsthand the influence in policy that ATPE lobbyists have. It’s not just about ATPE’s insurance. It’s about the influence ATPE lobbyists have to protect teachers and students.”

As a public school educator, you are often asked to do so much with so little, and it can be overwhelming to keep up with education news and politics on top of that. But that’s where ATPE’s advocacy efforts come in. As a member of ATPE, you’re never an idle spectator because our lobbyists are always in the game.

“I know a lot of teachers have this sense of apathy and are worried there’s nothing they can do,” says Riley. “But when you’re a member of ATPE, you know someone is at the Capitol working for you, helping your profession, helping your students, and making education in Texas better.”

ATPE members also have access to tools that keep them informed and help them connect with legislators. Staying up to date with ATPE is easy!

  • Use ATPE’s Advocacy Central to easily connect with legislators and make your voice heard.
  • Follow the lobbyists’ blog at TeachtheVote.org for regular updates about ongoing legislative issues.
  • Connect with our lobby team on Twitter (@TeachTheVote) for breaking news and important insights.
  • Look out for information on our ATPE at the Capitol event, where members can meet face to face with legislators.

You’re the professionals at your schools. The ATPE lobbyists are the professionals at the Capitol.

“ATPE lobbyists know how to speak with the lawmakers,” Riley points out. “They know how to negotiate on behalf of teachers. We can’t always be there at the Capitol because we’re in the classroom. But here at the Capitol, ATPE’s got our backs whenever lawmakers try to push around public education a little too much. As long as I’ve been teaching, it seems as if the public education budget has been largely affected by outside groups that are trying to take that money. Whenever that money is being taken out of our classrooms and being put into little side projects across the state that aren’t helping our students, I’m glad to know that there’s an ATPE lobbyist fighting to save those dollars and keep them in our classrooms for our students.”

You can trust ATPE to stand up for public education and be your voice on the issues that matter most to you, like teacher pay and retirement, student testing, funding, vouchers, and more. ATPE members work hard to give Texas students a bright future and deserve to have the best lobby team in the state fighting to protect educators’ rights.

And as for those lawmakers? Riley has an idea about what they can do.

“I would invite a lawmaker to come in to the classroom and see what is actually happening. Our schools are not failures, and our students certainly aren’t failures. I want a lawmaker to come into the classroom, see what’s happening on a day-to-day basis, and see the differences we’re making in the lives of our students.”

Not an ATPE member? Join today to fight for Texas public education. We’re 100,000 strong. Will you add your voice?