Young student looks at the camera, surrounded by other students all sitting at their desks in the classroom
Young student learning in the classroom Credit: Adobe Stock Images

Protests at Texas Capitol over education issues

The Texas public education system had its share of rounds on the national news with Texas Education Agency and the Houston ISD takeover.

Several community activists and legislatures against the takeover have said that this move is just another game of politics at the hands of Republicans, especially Gov. Greg Abbott and his goal to push private charter school education and school vouchers.

TEA Commissioner Mike Morath has denied all accusations. However, Abbott is riding the education wave this week with his rally for “parental empowerment” at the Texas Capitol, advocating for his plan to subsidize private education. A bill Abbott calls the “Parental Bill of Rights” would create an education savings account that the state would fund with $8,000 per eligible family to send their children to private school. Abbott said the state would also increase public education funds while denouncing the “radical woke agenda” in public schools he claims is harmful to students. Conservatives assert race is still a significant trigger for parents and Abbott is playing to the emotional strings of these folk like a guitar. Let’s see how this plays out.

Pay transparency: Great move for Black workers

a hand with an ink pen prepares to sign a document that says contract, while another person waits to receive the contract.
Salary transparency a good move for women and people of color. Credit: Adobe Stock Images

I’ve said it many times before, but I love how confident and self-assured today’s young professionals are. I remember speaking to my parents about my non-linear career choice decisions I’ve made, which gave them concerns at some point because I was always moving from one job opportunity to another. They couldn’t understand the struggles of being young and Black in an unpredictable industry like journalism. It wasn’t what they would ever do if the roles were switched. Their generation was about getting employed, staying with the company, taking care of family and responsibilities, and working hard. Times have changed now. Inflation is high, student loan debt is abysmal, jobs aren’t paying what their employees are worth, and job-hopping is no longer taboo in the workforce. Many U.S. jobs are keeping up with the program. A new report from states that salary information more than doubled between Feb. 2020 and Feb. 2023, from 18.4% to 43.7%. This is a trend that will benefit women and people of color, who statistically get the short end of the stick during hiring negotiations. This is a good step in the right direction.

The CROWN Act: Texas…Where you at?

Three young Black women with different natural hair styles - one with a short natural fro, a second woman with a large curly fro and a third woman with long braid extensions - embrace each other with their eyes closed.
The CROWN Act pushes to end hair discrimination. Credit: Getty Images

The fight against hair discrimination continues. As of Feb. 2023, 20 states have enacted the CROWN Act. Why are the roots that have grown from my head still a topic in the workforce? Why is it seen as unprofessional? Why do our people still have to suffer negative consequences for our tresses?

The Republican-controlled legislature has blocked the act from becoming a federal law, and states like Texas aren’t on the list of 20 yet. House Bill 567 (relating to discrimination based on hair texture or protective hairstyles associated with race) will be scheduled for a public hearing this week. The proposal is on the table, but why are y’all (state legislators) still dragging your feet? I do hope Texas gets with the program and becomes state 21 to enact the law.

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Laura OnyenehoEducation Reporter

I cover Houston's education system as it relates to the Black community for the Defender as a Report for America corps member. I'm a multimedia journalist and have reported on social, cultural, lifestyle,...