Texas AFT

In anticipation of the upcoming legislative session, a local teachers union will seek community input on the public education system. Victoria's chapter of Texas American Federation of Teachers and the Victoria school district will host the open discussion Thursday evening, in conjunction with other districts across the state.

AFT Victoria chapter President Dwight Harris said he hopes to draw a large crowd. "It's not the sort of thing where educators are telling parents what to do. Anybody that shows up will be part of the discussion," he said to the Victoria Advocate.

Topics of discussion planned for Thursday's forum include school funding, accountability, teaching quality and equal access to high-quality education. Registration is not required but encouraged. The school district will provide the facility free of charge, along with light refreshments for attendees, Harris said.

Last year, the Texas Legislature cut $5.4 billion from public education. Cuts led to larger class sizes, layoffs and the eradication of full-day pre-kindergarten in most districts.

The evening will start with a 15- to 20-minute discussion on current issues in education, followed by an open discourse between community members and local district representatives. "We have a crisis in education," Harris said. "This is so that when we get to the legislative session, the legislators will know what the public is talking about."