How Can We Pay And Write Texas Learning License Online

Hailed as a new tool for educators, Texas has released a new online license. The Texas Learning License, however, has several flaws and places undue burdens on teachers, who must also be responsible for their own finances.

As we, as Texans, are now a little over two weeks away from voting in the state’s November 6th election, I’m aware that I’ve certainly seen enough text to last a lifetime. Even though many of the larger issues are more settled by this election, the digital culture is still causing a ruckus with the community. Specifically, we’re seeing many Texans passionate on social platforms in support of the Brand New Texas House.

I first witnessed the BLM movement first hand, and their goal is simple; liveable wages for everyone. Though all state school employees will be paid a living wage by the end of the year, I won’t rest until wages to all state employees are sustainable and predictable. By 2020, all non-teaching state employees will have a guaranteed living wage.

My own experience working on the ground as a student and teacher in small communities of Texas can’t be emphasized enough. If I were an employer, I’d ask anyone that asks about their qualifications how many languages they speak. I used to know several that would speak half of them. Not only did the cliché of “a well-trained workforce” get tossed around during my career, but two natural harbingers of our future were also utilized all the time. Many of my coworkers, both natives and college graduates, could speak these languages in their native tongue. They weren’t necessarily afforded opportunities in specialized fields or to navigate big city tech industry, but to have fun and work together was an essential part of what they did.

And finally, I remember the summer I spent learning as part of my associate’s degree coursework in Spanish and learning in other Spanish mediums. The school was completely geared towards ESL learners at the time, but not much changed after I completed my associate’s degree. My district and school itself didn’t change in any way in 2014, when they agreed to hire 32 more teachers to work in classrooms across our district.

So, here we are, two months away from an election that could change our state’s education system, and I have multiple questions that I believe need answering.

Are we really finding a way to easily pay these workers living wages online? How will we accurately track real-time salaries and maintain financial transparency? Will the new system of pay structure even work? Where are we going to find the funding for this initiative? The last few months have shown that the cyberpanic over wage-targeting initiative is real. Someone wants paychecks. Someone wants to know how much their money is going into real-time. We need someone to do it.

I sat down with former Secretary of Education John King to ask these questions. Every single detail needs to be accounted for. I expect that if a better system is created, it’ll be revolutionary. I’ve had the opportunity to speak to many leaders in this movement, and they believe the concern with these standards will be resolved. The movement itself needs to have unity, and the needs of everyone — state employees and Texans — is not on the backburner.

Texas has some way to go as we consider this right. The administrative climate in education has been a real paradigm shift, and from those that have worked in Texas classrooms, I see it everyday. Growing up in a border town in the middle of the United States and living in a small city like Dallas, I saw firsthand that education for many Texan children is still unacceptable.

Young people that see a chance at prosperity are the future of this great state. With an educated future, any movement in Texas will thrive. This is a serious moment for the state as we are moving forward, and this effort needs to be said.

I’m cautiously optimistic, but I have faith that somehow this will get resolved in Texas. We all need to get behind this movement. It’s a risky one, but on the other hand, it’s one where my future is about to start to take shape. With our state teaching employees, IT leaders, and state consultants are giving up some to make this kind of change. This initiative is a win-win for everyone who matters.

Alexander Schmitz is a first-generation Houstonian who graduated from McKinney Boyd High School in 2010. He currently works in a small law firm as a data analyst.

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