February 16, 2018
Texas Educators Vote Update
Early voting starts next week! Make sure your staff and students are ready to VOTE.
When we started Texas Educators Vote in the fall of 2015, we couldn’t have guessed that encouraging educators to vote would create such a stir. Of course, we hoped we would spur the 700,000 people working in Texas public schools to become good citizens who register to vote, inform themselves before heading to the polls, and vote – in each and every election. We started this program after we found out about Texas’s history of low voter turnout. We did this also because a democracy is only as strong as its members are engaged. Educators are always expected to model behavior for students. What better way to model civic engagement than for educators to show pride in voting and to practice what they preach and teach.
We all know that the Texas Constitution requires the legislature to “establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools.” Sadly, many in power don’t support that part of the constitution and are pushing back on public educators voting - as it threatens their control over the state. We are proud and encouraged that the education community has woken up to the importance of voting, and that educators are engaged like never before. The #blowingthewhistle campaign that spontaneously and organically erupted among teachers in response to efforts to divide and silence educators is a tribute to those working in Texas public schools.
The time has come to take the enthusiasm for #blowingthewhistle to the #pullingthelever. The people and groups trying to silence educators are worried about heavy educator turnout. This is your chance to make a difference. But, it only matters if you VOTE! The children are counting on you to speak up for them, and the time is upon us.
Early voting begins in a few short days, Tuesday, February 20th and continues through Friday, March 2nd.
1. Make sure your staff and students know that they need to go to the polls ready to vote, just like you expect them to get to school ready to learn. That means doing a little bit of research on the candidates and ballot issues to know how they will vote. Our website has a page dedicated to researching candidates. It leads you to non-partisan resources including the League of Women Voters and Teach the Vote. TexasEducatorsVote.com/research-candidates/
2. Make sure your staff and students understand that Texas has “open” primaries. Voters don’t register with any party, so they are free to vote in whichever election they choose. A handy dandy web tool will help voters who don’t have a strong party preference decide where their vote will count the most. Please check it out and share. There is a wealth of valuable information on this new site! ValueVoting.com/my/tx/primary
3. Encourage educators to go vote early! It would be great to have record high turnout day one of early voting – Tuesday, February 20th. Another great day to encourage educators to vote is Friday, February 23rd, the day the Secretary of State has proclaimed as Student Voting Day. Here is a pdf of his proclamation.
4. For early voting information in your district, click here: VoteTexas.gov/voting/where.html.
5. Please follow Texas Educators Vote on Facebook and Twitter for helpful and non-partisan posts and tweets about voting. You can also find lots of good voter info on our website at: TexasEducatorsVote.com.
Thank you again for standing up for democracy and for the children. Your efforts to create a culture of voting in your school district are not subversive; in fact they are supportive of both the United States and Texas Constitutions. Encouraging voter participation is also just the right thing to do. You became educators to serve the community and the children. We thank you for your service and your willingness to stand up to bullies. Make sure you are staying within the law, and keep up the great work. Think of the sea of blue jeans you will see on the smiling faces of your staff in the coming weeks!
To the polls!
Texas Educators Vote