Updates

March 28, 2017

Over the past month Pastors for Texas Children has been extremely busy engaging stakeholders statewide and across the country in the support of millions of public school students.  Here are some highlights of the last month:

Meetings Across the Country

A large crowd supportive of public schools a the Jarrell ISD meeting.

A large crowd supportive of public schools a the Jarrell ISD meeting.

On Feb. 21, Rev. Charles Johnson was privileged to join former Rep. Marsha Farney in addressing the teachers and staff of Jarrell ISD under the leadership of Superintendent Bill Chapman.  Clearly, teachers all over Texas are awakening to the assault on public education by some of the most powerful politicians in the legislature.  On February 22, we were invited by State Board of Education member Erika Beltran to join her for her monthly Leadership ISD meeting in Fort Worth. This is a dynamic group of community leaders specifically chosen to learn about issues in public education.

On February 25, the Rev. Dr. Andy Stoker, Senior Minister of First United MethodistChurch of Dallas, presented the mission of PTC before the pastors of Grace Presbytery in Dallas.  On February 28 and March 1, Dr. Charles Luke and Rev. Johnson joined over 40 foundations and advocacy groups in the Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium annual meeting in Austin to advance the tested and proven policy of comprehensive pre-kindergarten instruction.

Rev. Johnson serves on panel at Texas Tribune event.

Rev. Johnson serves on panel at Texas Tribune event.

On March 3, Rev. Johnson joined Rep. Harold Dutton and other stakeholders in a Texas Tribune panel on “school choice” at the University of Houston.

On March 6, PTC held its first gathering of pastors from across the state for an Advocacy Day at the Capitol.  70 pastors and faith leaders convened at the First United Methodist Church of Austin where we learned local about school ministry from leaders like Lise Cook of KidsHope and state school advocacy from policymakers like Rep. Gary Van Deaver and Rep. Dwayne Burns. It was a productive time of instruction and inspiration, followed by visits to elected House and Senate members in the Capitol.

The next day, Rev. Johnson flew out to Washington D.C. where he spoke to 40 young ministers convened by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in our nation’s capital to learn about how to make just and

Rev. John Ogletree with Senator Royce West at the Texas AFT meeting.

Rev. John Ogletree with Senator Royce West at the Texas AFT meeting.

righteous policy advocacy part of Christian ministry before God. On Monday, March 13, we joined our dear friend Louis Malfaro and thousands of other teachers and school workers for the Texas American Federation of Teachers rally on the south steps of the Capitol.  PTC pastor and board member the Rev. John Ogletree and Rev. Johnson addressed the throng gathered there.

On March 16, we were greatly honored to address the annual Faith Leaders Breakfast of the United Federation of Teachers in New York City.  We are deeply grateful to President Mike Mulgrew and co-director Anthony Harmon for this invitation to address

Rev. Johnson (C) with Anthony Harmon (L) and Mike Mulgrew (R)

Rev. Johnson (C) with Anthony Harmon (L) and Mike Mulgrew (R)

one of the largest community teacher organizations in the country. We are gratified to God that our mission to mobilize the faith community for public education support and advocacy is catching on around the nation.

On March 21, Dr. Charles Luke testified before the Senate Education Committee in his capacity as Coordinator of the Coalition for Public Schools.  It is PTC’s honor to have Dr. Luke serving in this post. Regrettably, PTC board member Rev. John Ogletree was not called up to testify until late in the evening, just after he had to return to Houston for pastoral responsibilities.

On March 22, a dynamic meeting of pastors and ministers for public education was held in Amarillo under the leadership of PTC Pastors Bobby Broyles and

Children at Save Texas Schools Rally.

Children at Save Texas Schools Rally.

Anthony Harris.  On March 24, Dr. Luke spoke at a press conference held by the Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium on Pre-K funding.

On Saturday, March 25, Rev. Johnson addressed another gathering of thousands at the Save Texas Schools rally on the south steps of the Capitol, organized by our friend Allen Weeks.  They were joined by several state legislators.

Media Coverage

Johnson: Call vouchers what they are: government entitlement and state overreach

http://www.chron.com/opinion/outlook/article/Johnson-Call-vouchers-what-they-are-government-10935706.php

Teachers, pastors, hit Texas Senate’s school voucher bill as “sinful” privatization

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/education/2017/03/13/teachers-pastors-hit-texas-senates-school-voucher-bill-sinful-privatization

Community leaders call on Texas lawmakers to fund pre-K

http://bit.ly/2mCncZb

Unfortunate goal of school choice movement

http://www.gosanangelo.com/story/opinion/contributors/2017/03/01/unfortunate-goal-school-choice-movement/98462276/

Pastors for Texas Children will continue to work diligently to promote quality education for over $5.3 million Texas public schoolchidren. We appreciate the support from all of our partners and advocates for kids all over the state and nation.

February 20, 2017

Pastors for Texas Children has been extremely busy over the past two months.  Here are some of the highlights of upcoming events and things that have been going on:

Upcoming Events

77Prayer Luncheon, Advocacy Training, and Legislative Briefing – 10 am to 2 pm on March 6, 2017 in Austin, Texas:  Join Pastors for Texas Children at the historic First United Methodist Church of Austin for a meaningful prayer luncheon for our legislators and for a legislative briefing as we advance through the 85th session of the Texas Legislature. We will be praying for our senators and representatives as they face the difficult task of making policy decisions for Texas. We will learn about the issues related to fair and just education policy for all Texas children.  And, we will make legislative visits to our respective policymakers in the Capitol.  Click here to find out more and to register.

A Symposium on Public Education – 8 am to 1:30 pm on March 3, 2017 in Houston, Texas:  Hosted by the Texas Tribune and held in the University of Houston Downtown Academic Building – Rev. Charles F. Johnson will sit on a panel to discuss “School Choice in the 85th” Texas Legislature.  Click here to find out more and to register.

Opening Day Prayer Event

On January 10th – the opening day of the 85th Texas Legislative Session  – we held a prayer meeting in prayerthe Capitol Extension Rotunda.  Several legislators gathered with area ministers to pray for legislators and staff for the session.  We were happy to see Rep. Charlie Geren, Rep. Cindy Burkett, and former Chairman of the House Public Education Committee Jimmie Don Aycock at the event!

Expansion of Pastors for Texas Children’s Mission Locations

Ministers in Louisville, Kentucky meet to discuss what they can do to support public schools.

Ministers in Louisville, Kentucky meet to discuss what they can do to support public schools.

The mission to mobilize the faith community to provide care and support for public school children and to advocate for public schools has expanded outside of the borders of the state!  With the launch of Pastors for Oklahoma Kids on January 24th, our work is now officially in two states.  Other states that are currently discussing working with us are Kentucky, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, New York, Georgia, and Washington D.C.  We need your prayers and support as we move to work with those supporting public schools in these states!

Visits to Schools

Dr. Dana West - Supt. of Amarillo ISD and Rev. Charles F. Johnson.

Dr. Dana West – Supt. of Amarillo ISD and Rev. Charles F. Johnson.

Pastors for Texas Children continues to meet with schools, pastors and school districts weekly.  The model that God has provided for us is to always cooperate with the local district superintendent in inviting and convening local clergy and church leaders.  This has proven very effective as we have held over 350 meetings throughout Texas in the past three years. Over the past two months we have conducted meetings to discuss support for our public schoolchildren in the following districts:

Plemons-Stinnett-Phillips CISD – Supt.  Bill Wiggins – January 4, 2017

Amarillo ISD – Supt. Dr. Dana West – January 5, 2017

Bullard ISD – Supt. Todd Schneider – January 12, 2017

Brock ISD – Supt. Scott Drillette – February 7, 2017

Bonham ISD – Supt. Dr. Marvin Beaty – February 13, 2017

Goose Creek CISD – Supt. Randal O’Brien – February 13, 2017

Alvin ISD – Supt. Dr. Buck Gilcrease – February 14, 2017

Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD (Remington Point Elementary) – Supt. Dr. Jim Chadwell and Principal Dr. Chaney Curran – February 16, 2017

We will have the privilege of being with community leaders in Jarrell ISD and Cy-Fair ISD this week. Pray for us as we conduct these meetings and galvanize community support for public education.

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Pastors for Texas Children has been involved in several media outlets over the past couple of months.  You can read a few of the articles by us at the following sites:

School ratings are a shallow attempt to grade a complex system – Dr. Charles Luke – PTC Assoc. Dir.

For your own good, pay attention – David Currie – PTC Board Member

Dr. Jimmie Chadwell, Supt. Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD on the value of public schools – Dr. Jim Chadwell – PTC Board Member

Johnson:  Call vouchers what they are: Government entitlement and state overreach – Rev. Charles F. Johnson – PTC Executive Director

Pastors for Texas Children appreciates your support for our work.  You can support us in prayer, by engaging others to sign up and you can support us financially at our website at www.pastorsfortexaschildren.com .

December 14, 2016

As we approach the end of the year, Pastors for Texas Children would like to thank all of your for you continued prayers and support as we work to mobilize the faith community in support of our neighborhood public schools.  We hope you are all having a Merry Christmas season as we near the end of the year.  Here are some of the things that have happened in November and December.

Rev. Dr. Andy Stoker of First UMC Dallas

Rev. Dr. Andy Stoker of First UMC Dallas

On November 3,  our Executive Director Rev. Charles F. Johnson met with Reading Partners leader Jackie Walker about the wonderful work they are doing in the Dallas public schools.  PTC leader Rev. Andy Stoker, senior pastor of First United Methodist Church of Dallas, met with Rev. Jan DeVries, General Presbyter of Grace Presbytery on November 8 to explore the expansion of PTC’s mission among Presbyterian churches of North Texas.  On November 10, PTC submitted our final report to The Meadows Foundation for our project with 20 Dallas ISD schools.  We are happy to report that our goal of improving overall scores by five-percent was met!  PTC looks forward to continuing to work with the DISD and other school districts to help connect the faith community to our neighborhood public schools in meaningful ways.

Supt. Richard Tedder and Rev. Charles F. Johnson

Supt. Richard Tedder and Rev. Charles F. Johnson

On November 14 Rev. Charles F. Johnson, Rev. Bobby Broyles, and Dr. Charles Luke all traveled to Waco, Texas for the annual Baptist General Convention of Texas meeting.  Rev. Johnson spoke at the Texas Baptists Committed breakfast on November 15, sharing the work of PTC and the need for all people of faith to support our over 5 million public schoolchildren.  Following the breakfast, Rev. Johnson traveled to Athens, Texas for a luncheon organized by Supt. Richard Tedder of Cross Roads ISD  with area ministers and educators interested in discussing how they can support the work of our Texas public schools as they work hard to educate children.   On November 16, Rev. Johnson traveled to Hawkins, Texas for a meeting with  Supt. Morris Lyon and Hawkins ISD to discuss how PTC is working with school districts and communities across Texas to support our Texas children.

That evening, PTC was represented by a number of ministers including Dallas Pastors Andy Stoker of First United Methodist Church, Danielle Shroyer of Journey Church, Scott Shirley of Church in the Cliff, and Arthur Stewart of Midway Hills Christian Church in a townhall meeting at McCulloch Intermediate School in Dallas, Texas featuring Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath and State Senator Don Huffines. These pastors attended to show support for our public schools and our schoolchildren.

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L to R: Bobby Rigues, Dr. Charles Luke, Rev. Charles Johnson, Rick Lambert, Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, Craig Rothmeier.

On November 28-29 Rev. Johnson and Dr. Luke attended the annual conference of the Coalition for Education Funding in Irving, Texas.  The conference included  several education dignitaries in a discussion of funding for public schools.  PTC supports robust funding of our public school system in Texas.  On November 30, Dr. Luke represented PTC at the Dare Summit in Austin, Texas.  Dr. Luke sat on a panel to discuss school finance.  The summit was hosted by the Center for Public Policy Priorities.  Later that same evening, Rev. Johnson and other PTC ministers attended a meeting of the Fort Worth Tea Party featuring Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

Rev. Charles F. Johnson and Diane Ravitch.

Rev. Charles F. Johnson and Diane Ravitch.

On December 6, Rev. Johnson and Dr. Luke attended a meeting of the Coalition for Public Schools – with Rev. Johnson co-facilitating the meeting in Austin while Dr. Luke co-facilitated by phone.  On December 7, Rev. Johnson was back in the DFW metroplex to meet with Dr. Jimmie Chadwell of the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD and Bill Gumbert of BOK Financial to discuss charter schools and public education.   On December 9, Rev. Johnson traveled to Houston, Texas for meetings with Rev. Steve Wells, Senior Pastor of South Main Baptist Church and other faith leaders aimed at developing PTC in the Houston area. That evening he caught a plane to New York City for a meeting featuring well-known education advocate Diane Ravitch and other leaders in the Network for Public Education.

Again, PTC would like to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and Happy New year.  The year 2016 has been eventful and busy for us.  We look forward with eager anticipation to the opportunities that lie ahead in 2017.

As we approach the end of the year, we would like to offer the opportunity to donate to Pastors for Texas Children.  Any donation will be appreciated.  You can donate here.    As always, we love to have to signed partners.  You or others can sign up to be a partner with PTC by clicking here.

Again, may God richly bless you in the coming year!

October 27, 2016

The last month has been extremely busy for Pastors for Texas Children (PTC).  We continue to work to mobilize the faith touching-hands-logocommunity to support and advocate for our neighborhood public schools in Texas and to help educate people about the value of public education.   Here is what has been going on in our world this past month:

On September 23-25 Rev. Charles Foster Johnson – our Executive Director – attended the TASA/TASB Convention in Houston, Texas.  Rev. Johnson met with several education 50leaders and supporters over the three-day period to discuss how to move forward in the work of supporting our public schools.  It was particularly gratifying to network at events sponsored by the Fast Growth School Coalition, Huckabee Architects, and Walsh, Gallegos, Trevino, Russo and Kyle, PC – all generous PTC supporters.  On September 26, Rev. Johnson met with Carol Burris, the Executive Director of the Network for Public Education (founded by Diane Ravitch) to discuss education policy on a statewide and nationwide level.  On September 27 both Rev. Jeff Johnson (PTC East Texas Director)

Children at De Zavala Elementary School in Fort Worth, Texas.

Children at De Zavala Elementary School in Fort Worth, Texas.

and Dr. Charles Luke (PTC Assoc. Director) met with Lise Cook (Regional Director of Kid’s Hope USA) and David Staal (President of Kid’s Hope USA).  Kid’s Hope USA  and PTC are working to discuss a partnership to train churches how to appropriately work with public schools.  Later that evening, Rev. Johnson represented PTC at an open house and PTA meeting at DeZavala Elementary School in the Fort Worth ISD. DeZavala Elementary is sponsored by Bread Fellowship where Rev. Johnson pastors.

On September 28, Rev. Johnson attended a meeting of the Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium  (TEGAC) in Austin, Texas.  The meeting focused on how foundations can work 52together to assist public education in Texas.  Dr. Charles Luke attended joint meetings of the Texas House Public Education Committee and the House Appropriations Committee on September 28-29. The meetings focused on public school finance to be addressed in the upcoming 85th Texas Legislative Session.

Texas State Representative Matt Krause.

Texas State Representative Matt Krause.

On September 30, Rev. Johnson joined Dr. Jimmie Chadwell (Supt. of the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD) for a meeting with Texas State Representative Matt Krause to discuss public education policy for the State of Texas and to share PTC’s concerns about the continued proposal of voucher programs each legislative session.

On October 3, both Rev. Johnson and Dr. Luke visited with Ann Smisko, the Deputy Director of Policy and Programs for Raise Your Hand Texas to discuss ways that our organizations can work together to advance public education in our state.   The following day, October

Texas Speaker of the House - Rep. Joe Straus.

Texas Speaker of the House – Rep. Joe Straus.

4, Rev. Johnson and Dr. Luke met with staff members of Rep. Joe Straus – Texas Speaker of the House so PTC could give a brief overview of our organization and the work we are doing to advance the cause of public education.  On October 5, Dr. Luke traveled to San Antonio, Texas to meet with several school district leaders at the Education Service Center, Region 20 hosted by Executive Director Dr. Jeff Goldhorn.  Also on October 5, Rev. Bobby Broyles (PTC Board President) presented on community engagement at the No Need Among You Conference in Dallas, Texas.

On October 11, Dr. Luke attended a meeting of the Fort Worth Mayor’s Faith Cabinet to discuss an early literacy project that is

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price.

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price.

being undertaken by the City of Fort Worth and Fort Worth ISDMayor Betsy Price led the discussion focused on helping children read by 3rd grade.   Rev.  Johnson met with Marv Knox, Editor of The Baptist Standard on October 12 to discuss public education issues in the state and on October 14, Rev. Johnson met with education leaders in Dallas, Texas for a roundtable discussion hosted by Commit!2Dallas.  On October 17, Rev. Johnson provided invited testimony regarding vouchers and “school choice” for the House Public Education Committee.  Rev. Johnson eloquently

Rev. Charles F. Johnson testifies before the Texas House Public Education Committee.

Rev. Charles F. Johnson testifies before the Texas House Public Education Committee.

opposed vouchers and public school privatization efforts, stating that “our children are not commodities to be traded on the free market”.  Rev. Johnson’s testimony may be viewed by clicking here and scrolling to the 3:50 (3 hour, 50 minute) mark.  The remarks received nationwide attention from noted education supporter Diane Ravitch and the Washington Post.

On October 19, Rev. Johnson spoke to a group public school superintendents and chief financial officers on the monthly logoconference call  of the Coalition for Education Funding – a coalition of public school districts committed to adequate and equitable funding for all public schools.  Rev. Johnson and Dr. Luke traveled on to San Antonio, Texas to meet with PTC supporter Tom Geib and60 leaders of the First Presbyterian Church of San Antonio – Senior Pastor  Rev. Dr. Bob Fuller and Associate Pastor Rev. Scott Simpson met with the group to discuss potential partnership development in the San Antonio area.   Finally, on October 20, Rev. Johnson met with leaders from The Meadows FoundationBruce Esterline (Executive Director) and Charles Glover  (Senior Program Officer) met with Rev. Johnson to discuss the work PTC is doing with Dallas ISD.

While it’s been an extremely busy month for us, none of this would be possible without your support!  You can help us by having friends sign up as partners by clicking here.  You can donate to PTC by clicking here.  Of course, we would also ask you to continue to pray for us as we work together to help engender support for our neighborhood public schools and the children they serve.

September 22, 2016

We at Pastors for Texas Children have been extremely busy over the past month!  It has been a busy time as we move forward through the school year and approach the upcoming 85th Texas Legislative Session.  Here is a partial list of some of our activities!

On August 4th, our Executive Director – Rev. Charles F. Johnson spoke to over 100 people at the Tom Green County Democratic Club meeting led by David Currie, on the topic of “The Truth About Vouchers”.  Rev. Johnson spoke eloquently about the dangers of privatizing our neighborhood public schools and called out those state leaders who are working to erode this public trust.  The following week on August 11th,  Rev.

Rev. Charles F. Johnson takes a "selfie" with the staff of Comanche ISD!

Rev. Charles F. Johnson takes a “selfie” with the staff of Comanche ISD!

Johnson spoke to several hundred employees of the Athens ISD (Supt. Blake Stiles) as he addressed their annual school convocation.  The following day, August 12th he spoke to a similar convocation of teachers at the Floydada ISD (Supt. Gilbert Trevino).  The next week Rev. Johnson spoke at convocations for Comanche ISD (Supt. Gary Speegle), Haskell CISD (Supt. Bill Alcorn), Plains ISD (Supt. Stephanie

Floydada ISD Supt. Gary Speegle and Former Texas House Speaker James "Pete" Laney.

Floydada ISD Supt. Gary Speegle and Former Texas House Speaker James “Pete” Laney.

Howard), Whitehouse ISD (Supt. Christopher Moran), and Lake Dallas ISD (Supt. Gayle Stinson). All of the meetings were powerful and more closely connected the work of PTC to the classroom. There is no greater privilege for us than to lift up and encourage our dedicated Texas schoolteachers!

On August 27thAssociate Director- Dr. Charles Luke attended the Kid’s Hope USA Regional Conference in Arlington, TexasKid’s Hope USA and leader Lise Cook partner with Pastors for Texas Children to provide training for the faith community to appropriately work with neighborhood public schools.  On August 31st, Rev. Johnson attended a meeting of pastors in Lubbock, Texas to discuss the value of public education

Dr. John Kuhn of the Mineral Wells ISD points to the plaque for the Charles A. Luke Memorial Sidewalk.

Dr. John Kuhn of the Mineral Wells ISD points to the plaque for the Charles A. Luke Memorial Sidewalk.

and how the faith community in Lubbock can work to support public schools.  On September 1st,  Dr. Luke also spoke to the Tom Green County Democratic Club on “The Truth About School Finance”.   On September 8th, Dr. Luke visited with Dr. John Kuhn – Superintendent of the Mineral Wells ISD to discuss the work of Pastors for Texas Children.  Both Rev. Johnson and Dr. Luke attended a Teacher Appreciation luncheon hosted by the Texas- American Federation of Teachers in Lufkin, Texas.

Dr. Luke attended the annual meeting of the Texas Association of Community Schools (TACS) in San Antonio held from September 9-11th.  In his role as coordinator of the Coalition for Public Schools, Dr. Luke coordinated a press conference on

PTC Representative Rev. Dr. Andy Stoker speaks at the Coalition for Public Schools press conference

PTC Representative Rev. Dr. Andy Stoker speaks at the Coalition for Public Schools press conference

September 12th to discuss the negative effects of vouchers.  The press conference was held in the Senate Press Room at the Texas State Capitol. Speakers at the press conference were Sen. Jose Menendez; Sen. Sylvia Garcia; Vice Chairman of the Texas State Board of Education Thomas Ratliff; Supt. of the Elgin ISD – Dr. Jodi Duron; parent and child advocate Jolene Sanders; and First United Methodist Church of Dallas Sr. Pastor – Rev. Dr. Andy Stoker.   Dr. Stoker also serves as the Dallas Clergy Coordinator of PTC’s school improvement initiative.

On September 14th, Dr. Luke testified before the Senate Education Committee about the need to support our public schools rather than disinvest from them and invest in privatization.

Dignitaries at the North Texas Area Assn. of School Boards.

Dignitaries at the North Texas Area Assn. of School Boards.

Later that evening, Rev. Johnson served on a panel at the North Texas Area Association of School Boards meeting in Coppell, Texas.  At the meeting, he discussed the need for school boards to provide strong, effective governance and to support our public schools statewide.  Finally, our Board President – Rev. Bobby Broyles  met on September 21st with school officials and pastors in the Crane ISD (Supt. James Rumage) to talk about the work the faith community can do in rural districts to help children.

Because we believe that education is a gift from God for all children, we are very interested in hearing your powerful, touching stories of how public education is changing the lives of students and teachers! Please email those stories to us. We promise to be discreet with them, holding specific names and places in confidence when necessary, but we want to encourage each other with them.  And, we want to tell these stories to our Senate and House members!touching-hands-logo

As Pastors for Texas Children continues to work hard to provide wrap-around care and support for neighborhood public schools and to be a strong voice for over 5.2 million Texas school children, we need your support.  Please pray for us and let us know that you are by sending us an email.  Join in our effort at getting out the word by following us on Twitter at @pastors4txkids.  Have someone you know sign up on our website here.  Finally, provide financial support by donation here.

We need your help as we work hard to support our children!  God bless and keep you in this high and holy work also!

August 5, 2016

Throughout the Summer, we at Pastors for Texas Children have taken some much-needed vacation time.  We have still been active, however, and we want to provide you this update of activities over the last couple of months.

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Over the past two-months, PTC has maintained our involvement in Texas Educators Vote, meeting and working with several organizations to plan efforts to get educators to turn out for elections and exercise their right to participate in the democratic process by voting.  On June 15th both Rev. Charles F. Johnson and Dr. Charles Luke met with this group in Austin, Texas to plan next steps to help encourage teachers to vote.

Allen West, Bobby Rigues, and Rev. Charles F. Johnson support principals at ESC 11.

Allen West, Bobby Rigues, and Rev. Charles F. Johnson support principals at ESC 11.

On June 20th Rev. Johnson met with Education Service Center 11 principals in training in Fort Worth, Texas to discuss how school officials can involve the faith community in advocacy for public educations and to meet the needs of children.  On that same day Dr. Charles Luke traveled to Lubbock, Texas to meet with Dr. Keith Bryant, Superintendent of the Lubbock-Cooper ISD and then to Canadian, Texas for a meeting with Rep. Ken King and Supt. Kyle Lynch of the Canadian ISD for a discussion about the upcoming 85th Texas Legislative Session.

Dr. Dana West - Amarillo ISD

Dr. Dana West – Amarillo ISD

On June 21st Dr. Luke attended Breakfast in the Barrio – a meeting of Amarillo, Texas community leaders – as the guest of Dr. Dana West, Supt. of the Amarillo ISD.  On June 22nd Dr. Luke visited with Dr. Behrl Robertson – Superintendent of the Lubbock ISD to discuss ways to support public education.  That same day Rev. Johnson met with the Urban Leaders Fellowship in an initial meeting to orient Diego Lopez, PTC’s summer intern through that program.  Mr. Lopez did research and data development  for PTC this summer.

On June 30th, Rev. Johnson and PTC Regional Director Rev. Jeff Johnson met with Rebecca Walls, Executive Director of Unite Greater Dallas to discuss their 26coordination with the work of PTC in bringing churches in the Dallas area together to support our neighborhood public schools.   On July 6th Rev. Johnson met with Dr. Kent Scribner, Superintendent of the Fort Worth ISD to discuss how PTC might work to support the school district. Later that afternoon, both 27Rev. Johnson and Dr. Luke met with fellows from the Urban Leaders Fellowship for a discussion about public school finance led by Dr. Luke.

Dr. Michael Hinojosa - Dallas ISD

Dr. Michael Hinojosa – Dallas ISD

On July 13th both Rev. Charles Johnson and Rev. Jeff Johnson met with Dallas ISD Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa and his staff to discuss the ongoing school improvement project between DISD and PTC.  On July 28 and 29th Rev. Johnson visited Austin, Texas for a series of meetings with PTC donors, supporters and partners to discuss our upcoming efforts for the coming school year.

PTC continues to support our neighborhood public schools and to explore ways to strengthen our communities through public education.  If you or someone you know would like to support Pastors for Texas Children financially you can do so by clicking here.  If they would like to sign up for information as a partner they may click here.

May God bless you all as we approach a new school year!

May 22, 2016

Dear Friends,

Over the past month, Pastors for Texas Children (PTC) has been extremely busy working hard to support our neighborhood public schools and advocating for over 5.2 million schoolchildren.  We know all of you work hard for our kids too, but we always appreciate and need as much help as possible.  If you would like to help by giving to PTC, you can do that by clicking here!  Any amount will be appreciated and used to help our kids!

Here is what we have been up to for the past month:

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L to R: Rev. Charles F. Johnson, Diane Ravitch, Dr. Charles Luke and Rev. Bobby Broyles at the 2016 NPE Conference.

April 15-17 several of us attended the annual Network for Public Education (NPE) Conference in Raleigh, NC.  Rev. Charles F. Johnson, Rev. Bobby Broyles, Rev. Jeff Johnson, and Dr. Charles Luke all made the trek to North Carolina to participate in a weekend of education networking, great information and strong inspiration from a host of presenters including our good friend and supporter Diane Ravitch and Rev. William Barber – the leader of Moral Mondays in North Carolina.

During the month of April and May, we continued our work with Texas Educators Vote, a collaboration between several education support organizations led by the Texas Association of Community Schools (TACS).  The goal of Texas Educators Vote is to ensure that our Texas public educators exercise their right to vote in ALL elections including primaries, runoffs and general elections.

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PTC President Rev. Bobby Broyles speaks to a room full of pastors and educators at the First Baptist Church of Abilene.

On April 24, Rev. Charles F. Johnson presented the work of PTC to Beth-El Congregation in Fort Worth, Texas.  A reform synagogue serving Tarrant County,  Rabbi Ralph Mecklenberger  and congregants were extremely interested in hearing about the work of PTC and how they can participate to support our Texas public schools.   The next day, on April 25, Rev. Johnson, Rev. Broyles and Dr. Luke all traveled to the First Baptist Church of Abilene, Texas for a Celebration of Public Education meeting hosted by Pastor Dr. Phil Christopher.  The meeting including a brisk discussion of the value of public education and attacks against our neighborhood public schools by privatization forces.  You can read about it and watch the video by clicking here!

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A crowd of over 300 attended the Lubbock ISD meeting.

On April 25, Rev. Broyles and Dr. Luke traveled to Amarillo, Texas for a meeting hosted by Dr. Dana West and the Amarillo ISD.  Rev. Broyles spoke eloquently about the need for our communities to support our neighborhood public schools with their involvement.  There were over 100 people there with dozens of pastors in attendance.  On April 26, Rev. Johnson was a guest on the Jim Douglass Morning Show on KJTV radio in Lubbock, Texas.  He spoke about the need for Lubbock citizens to support their neighborhood public schools in the face of unrelenting efforts to privatize them. Later that same morning, Rev. Johnson,  Rev. Broyles, and Dr. Luke joined the Lubbock ISD and Dr. Berhl Robertson for their annual meeting with community members.  Over 300 people were in attendance to hear a strong speech regarding the values and threats to public schools from Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock.  Rev. Johnson then spoke representing PTC followed by Dr. Luke speaking on behalf of the Coalition for Public Schools.

Umphrey Lee celebration

Umphrey Lee Elementary School teachers in the Dallas ISD enjoyed a catered lunch provided by Pastors for Texas Children and PTC Regional Director Rev. Jeff Johnson.

PTC continued their work connecting 100 churches with 20 high needs Dallas ISD schools.  During Teacher Appreciation Week in the first week of May, PTC Regional Director Jeff Johnson worked to ensure that teachers at Umphrey Lee Elementary School received a catered meal and over $500 worth of gifts for teachers to show our appreciation for the hard work they do with children all year long.

On May 2, Rev. Bobby Broyles met with the Shallowater, Texas ministerial alliance in a meeting hosted by Shallowater ISD and Superintendent Kenneth Border to discuss how the churches in that town can work to support their neighborhood public schools.

On May 4, Rev. Johnson and Dr. Luke traveled to Houston for a breakfast meeting with State Board of Education President Donna Bahorich.  The trio discussed ways to make assessment more meaningful and the possibility of working on an early childhood literacy project together.  Later that day, Johnson and Luke met with H.D. Chambers, the Superintendent of the Alief ISD, to discuss ways that the district could work with PTC to support public education statewide.  This was followed by a meeting with Dr. Guy Sconzo of the Humble ISD. Dr. Sconzo talked about the need to support our public schools as he retires and moves into a new role as an advocate for public schools in Austin, Texas.

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Rev. Fritz Hager of the Tyler ISD Board of Trustees speaks to the group at the meeting in Tyler, Texas.

On May 5, Dr. Luke met with Mike Hall of Strong Fathers, Strong Families (SFSF) to discuss ways that PTC and their organization can work together to include fathers in the community building process in our Texas public schools.   SFSF is an organization that works with schools to impact their students by involving fathers in education.  On May 10, Rev. Johnson and Dr. Luke traveled to Tyler, Texas for a meeting hosted by the First Christian Church and sponsored by the Coalition for Public Schools.  The interactive discussion regarding the value of public education in the Tyler community included comments from Jay Misenheimer, Rep. David Simpson, Tyler ISD Superintendent Marty Crawford, and Tyler ISD Board Member Rev. Fritz Hager.

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The Texas Supreme Court rules that the Texas school funding system is constitutional.

On May 13, the Texas Supreme Court released their decision on the Texas public school funding case.  While the court called the system “Byzantine” and with “immense need for improvement”, they still found the system constitutional.  This decision sparked outrage from a large number of sources.  Ministers supportive of and involved with PTC weighed in on the issue with op-eds  and articles critical of the court for not acting. An early op-ed in the Dallas Morning News can be found by clicking here.  An article by our friend Marv Knox, Editor of The Baptist Standard can be found by clicking here.

On May 18, Dr. Luke traveled to New Braunfels, Texas for a meeting with Rev. Brett Mosher and Director Janae Fuller of the New Braunfels Kids Club (NBKC).  NBKC works with over 200 kids from eight New Braunfels ISD schools to provide them with a strong afterschool program.  Drawing from volunteers from over 20 area churches, children are provided with tutoring, mentoring, healthy nutrition and physical activity.  PTC plans to work with NBKC to provide models of afterschool programs for churches across the state.   Later that afternoon, Dr. Luke traveled to San Antonio, Texas to meet with Rep. Diego Bernal.  Rep. Bernal voiced his commitment to public education in Texas as evidenced by his visits to all of the neighborhood public schools in his legislative district.  On that same day, Rev. Johnson met with representatives from Kids Hope and UNITE Greater Dallas to explore a collaboration to strengthen the project in the DISD.

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Texas State Representative and candidate for SD 24 Susan King discusses her role in the Texas House supporting education.

On May 20, Dr. Luke traveled to Killeen, Texas to conduct a meeting sponsored by PTC and hosted by Dr. Randy Wallace and the First Baptist Church of Killeen.  The meeting was well attended and provided robust discussion about the value and needs of public education as we head to the 85th Legislative Session.  Those in attendance and speaking about public schools were Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, Rep. Susan King, and Dr. John Craft, Superintendent of the Killeen ISD.

Pastors for Texas Children will continue to work hard for over 5.2 million schoolchildren in the State of Texas.  If you know of someone who would like to sign up as a partner with PTC, please have them go to http://pastorsfortexaschildren.com/sign-up  to sign up today!

April 18, 2016

Pastors for Texas Children (PTC) is honored to be working to support our neighborhood public schools and our 5.2 million public school children statewide! We have been working diligently this last month to bring garner support from the Texas faith community to help our children, our educators, and our communities. Here are a few of the highlights of our activities from March, 2016.

On March 10th, PTC President Rev. Bobby Broyles conducted a meeting of the ministerial alliance and educators in the Quinlan ISD to discover ways that the faith community and the school district could work together for the benefit of the children of the community.

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Some students and their teacher from Hines Elementary.

On March 22nd, both Rev. Charles F. Johnson and Dr. Charles Luke traveled to Waco, Texas for a community meeting at Hines Elementary School. Hines Elementary has been ranked as “Improvement Required” by the Texas Education Agency and Pastors for Texas Children is part of a community school improvement effort.

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Rev. Johnson gathers community members and educators to conduct a meeting.

Rev. Johnson traveled to Central Texas for a meeting with the Burnet CISD on March 28th. Community members and educators gathered to explore ways that they can support their neighborhood public schools and ensure quality education for ALL of our Texas school children.

CFPS Logo(1)Both Rev. Johnson and Dr. Luke attended the meeting of the Coalition for Public Schools on March 29th. PTC is a member organization, joining with over 30 other education organizations to support public schools and to oppose vouchers that would siphon   away much needed funds from our public education system.

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Dr. Charles Luke on the panel for the CLC conference.

On March 31st, Johnson and Luke attended the Micah 6:8 Conference hosted by the Christian Life Commission (CLC) of the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT) in San Antonio. Dr. Luke sat on a panel discussing the value of public schools and the need to support our public education system in our neighborhoods and state. Other panelists were Texas State Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock and Gabriel Cortez – Hispanic Education Initiative Director of the BGCT.

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The young chefs from Lytle High school

Also on March 31, Rev. Johnson spoke to a group of pastors and community leaders in Lytle, TX, enjoying a delicious meal in the Lytle United Methodist Church prepared by students in the Lytle High School. In communities like Lytle all over the state, our public school kids and schoolteachers enjoy the great support of ministers, churches, and civic leaders.

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Association of Texas Professional Educators, Grapevine, Texas.

On April 2nd, Rev. Johnson spoke to an assembly of educators affiliated with the Association of Texas Professional Educators in Grapevine, Texas. Rev. Johnson spoke to the group about the need to provide world-class education for ALL of our Texas students and our moral obligation to support our neighborhood public schools.

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Titche Elementary School – Dallas, Texas

Finally, on April 8th, both Rev. Johnson and Dr. Luke attended a meeting of community members and school officials at Titche Elementary in the Dallas ISD as part of PTC’s ongoing school improvement project with DISD. Working with DISD leaders, clergy, and other nonprofit partners, PTC is currently working to connect 100 Dallas area churches with 20 DISD schools for continuous school improvement.

We at PTC appreciate your continued prayers and support as we travel the State of Texas to connect the faith community to our neighborhood public schools in appropriate and helpful ways. If you would like to donate to PTC to help us fulfill our mission, you may do so by clicking here. If you would like to share our sign up link with others for them to become a PTC partner, they may sign up by clicking here. Thanks for all you do and for your commitment to our children!

March 3, 2016

Over the month of February, Pastors for Texas Children have been extremely busy!  With a major, ongoing school improvement project with the Dallas Independent School District and our work around the state supporting our neighborhood, public schools we have been going strong all across the State of Texas.

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L – R: Bobby Rigues of MEaP, Rev. Charles F. Johnson, Dr. Charles Luke, and MEaP VP Rick Lambert .

On Monday, February 8, Dr. Charles Luke traveled to Austin to receive the Austin Voices for Education and Youth Hall of Fame Award for Pastors for Texas Children.  Both Dr. Luke and Rev. Charles F. Johnson were inducted into the hall of fame by the group, which focuses on creating “community collaboration to strengthen families, support kids, and improve schools”.    On February 10, Rev. Johnson and Dr. Luke joined MEaP representatives Bobby Rigues and Craig Rothmeier for the kickoff meeting for Make Education A Priority (MEaP).  MEaP is  nonprofit organization that fosters “ public education opportunities for all students through partnerships, engagement and advocacy”.

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Rev. Charles F. Johnson presents Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock with the first Blessing the Children Award.

On February 15, Rev. Johnson traveled to East Texas for a meeting with the Palestine ISD  with several hundred teachers and school officials.  Rev. Johnson challenged the group to continue to support our Texas public schoolchildren and to make their voices heard through their right to vote.  On February 16, Pastors for Texas Children hosted a large meeting in Fort Worth.  Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock was the featured speaker, encouraging all present to continue fighting for public education across the state.  At the end of the meeting, Rev. Johnson presented Rep. Aycock with our first ever “Blessing the Children” Award for excellence in service.

Rev. Johnson traveled to Jarrell, Texas  on February 17 to attend and speak to a meeting of the Central Texas School Board Association.  The meeting included board members from several public school districts in the area.   During the final week of February, PTC participated in a number of Public Education Meetings co-hosted by the Coalition for Public Schools.  Meetings were held in Corsicana , Cleburne, and Texarkana to discuss the value of public education and to discover ways that community members can support their schools.

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Rev. Joe Clifford leads a PTC meeting at Burleson Elementary School in the Dallas ISD.

Several school improvement project meetings were held in the Dallas ISD.  Pastors for Texas Children is partnering with the DISD through a grant from The Meadows Foundation to connect churches to schools in positive, helpful ways.  Over the past few weeks, meetings were held at Umphrey Lee Elementary School, Burleson Elementary School, and Seagoville High SchoolPTC Regional Director Rev. Jeff Johnson and First Presbyterian Church of Dallas pastor Rev. Dr. Joe Clifford are heading up the project.   School improvement discussion are also underway in the Waco ISD with Rev. Johnson attending a community meeting with school officials and clergy there on February 22.  Rev. Johnson started the new month by attending an annual meeting for the Fast Growth Schools Coalition in Dallas on March 1st.

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Waco community members discuss school improvement in the Waco ISD.

Finally, West Texas Regional Director Rev. Bobby Broyles met with Dr. David Young, Superintendent of the Abilene ISD, Dr. Joey Light, Superintendent of the Wylie ISD, and Dr. Ronnie Kincaid, Executive Director of the Education Service Center 14 to plan a Celebration of Education Night for April 25.

Pastors for Texas Children continues to work hard to support our neighborhood public schools and our 5.2 million schoolchildren across the State of Texas.  You can help us by encouraging your friends to sign up at  http://pastorsfortexaschildren.com/sign-up or by supporting us financially at http://pastorsfortexaschildren.com/donate . PTC will continue working diligently for ALL of our Texas kids!

February 9, 2016

The first part of 2016 has been extremely busy for Pastors for Texas Children.  We have been working diligently with an increasing number of partners to support our neighborhood public schools across the great state of Texas.  While PTC activities have increased to the point where we can’t share everything with you, here are some of the highlights over the last month or so.

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Dallas ISD Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa.

On January 4th, PTC leaders met with Superintendent Michael Hinojosa and his team at the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) to discuss a project that will connect  100 Dallas area churches with 20 high-needs schools in the DISD in school improvement efforts.  Since that first meeting, PTC leaders have met with DISD on a weekly basis as we move forward with the project.  The project is supported by a grant from The Meadows Foundation, received by PTC in December of 2015.  PTC East Texas Regional Director Rev. Jeff Johnson and Dallas’ First Presbyterian Church pastor Rev. Joe Clifford are lead pastors on the project.   PTC and DISD are currently developing partnerships with Dallas area churches, community organizations and interested individuals to ensure the success of the project.

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Dr. Charles Luke speaks out against vouchers and school privatization.

PTC has continued our partnerships with the Texas Association of Community Schools in the “Texas Educators Vote” campaign.  The mission of the campaign is to create a culture of voting in all of our Texas public schools.  Teachers, administrators, board members and others can take the oath to vote this coming March 1 by visiting http://texaseducatorsvote.com/ .   On January 7th, PTC Associate Director Dr. Charles Luke sat on a panel discussing public education sponsored by the Texas Public Policy Foundation.  Dr. Luke spoke against vouchers and for educational options currently available within our Texas public schools.  You can see the entire video by clicking here . Dr. Luke’s discussion begins at 18:21 on the video.

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Rev. Charles F. Johnson works at a table with members of the Granbury, Texas community.

On January 11th, PTC West Texas Regional Director, Rev. Bobby Broyles, Dr. Charles Luke, and PTC Executive Director Rev. Charles F. Johnson participated in community meetings sponsored by the Coalition for Public Schools to discuss the value of public education and to hear from the community in Granbury, Texas.  The meetings were well attended and valuable information regarding the strengths of our public schools and ways to support them was gathered.  Similar meetings were held in Lewisville, Texas on January 19th.  On January 20th, PTC leaders Rev. Charles Johnson, Rev. Jeff Johnson, and Dr. Charles Luke participated in a meeting in Terrell, Texas of over 50 pastors, educators, and community members hosted by Pastor John Lowrie and the First Baptist Church of Terrell.  Rev. Johnson spoke about the need for the community to support our public schools and to stem the tide of attacks on public education and those who support it.

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Rev. Charles F. Johnson speaks at the general session of the TASA Midwinter Conference.

On January 23rd, Rev. Charles Johnson led board training for the trustees of the Lake Dallas ISD and Supt. Gayle Stinson.  Rev. Johnson discussed ways that school board members can advocate for the needs of the children in their school district.  From January 24th – 27th Rev. Charles Johnson and Dr. Charles Luke attended the Texas Association of School Administrators MidWinter Conference.  Rev. Johnson spoke in the general session on January 26th, challenging the full group of administrators to advocate for the needs of their school children in their communities and in the legislature.

During the week of February 1st – 5th, Rev. Charles Johnson attended the 2016 National Prayer Breakfast and Conference in Washington, D.C. at the kind invitation of Buckner International.  He joined public servants and faith leaders from around the nation and world in a time of spiritual unity, prayer and goodwill.  Finally, during the first week of February, Rev. Bobby Broyles met with San Angelo ISD Supt. Carl Dethloff, SISD Asst. Supt. Shelly Hullihen, ESC 15 Executive Director Scott Goen and Asst. Director Laura Strube to discuss and plan teacher appreciation efforts for the San Angelo ISD.

Pastors for Texas Children continues to work hard to support and promote our neighborhood, public schools.  You can support us in our efforts with a tax deductible donation by clicking here or mailing your check or money order to:  Pastors for Texas Children – PO Box 471155 – Fort Worth, Texas  76147.  You can help others sign up as a Partner by clicking here.

December 22, 2015

This is the final update of 2015 for us at Pastors for Texas Children (PTC).  We want to take this opportunity to thank all of our partners for their support and their diligent work alongside us to support our neighborhood public schools and strong educational opportunities for ALL of our Texas children.  Much was accomplished in 2015 but we look forward to even greater things in 2016.  May all of you have a blessed holiday season!

z946A great deal has happened since our last update as we head into the holiday season and a new year.  On November 16, both Rev. Charles F. Johnson and Dr. Charles Luke attended a meeting in Fort Worth of Leadership ISD, headed up by State Board of Education Member Erica Beltran.  Leadership ISD works with community partners to positively impact educational opportunities for all children.  On November 18, Rev. Johnson and Christian Life Commission Director Gus Reyes were featured in a television broadcast on the Trinity Broadcasting Network.  Rev. Johnson spoke about the role of Pastors for Texas Children in mobilizing the faith community in support of our public schools and our Texas children.  On November 18, Dr. Luke represented PTC at the Raising of Fort Worth breakfast – a city-wide effort to address the issue of early childhood education across Fort Worth, Texas.

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Dr. Charles Luke (L) and Rev. Robert Rueda (R).

On November 19, Dr. Luke attended the Regional Advisory Committee meeting of superintendents at Education Service Center 1 in Edinburg, Texas hosted by ESC 1 Executive Director Dr. Cornelio Gonzales. Dr. Luke discussed the work of Pastors for Texas Children throughout the state and how to move forward in the Rio Grande Valley.   Later that day, Dr. Luke visited with Rev. Robert Rueda, Director of the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Baptist Student Ministries to talk about ways that the BSM might work with the school districts in the region to support public education throughout the Rio Grande Valley.   The next day, November 20, both Rev. Johnson and Dr. Luke continued their collaboration with Barry Haenisch, Executive Director of the Texas Association of Community Schools on the Texas Educators Vote campaign to encourage educators across the state to exercise their constitutional right to vote on March 1, 2016.

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Dr. Mike Moses (L) and Rev. Charles F. Johnson (R) at the Friends of Texas Public Schools Annual Gala.

On December 2, Rev. Johnson was honored to serve as the emcee for the annual gala of the Friends of Texas Public Schools (FOTPS) held at McLane Stadium at Baylor University.   The gala honored PTC Advisory Board Member Dr. Mike Moses and former Klein ISD Superintendent Jim Cain as “Friends of the Year”.   On December 3, PTC President Rev. Bobby Broyles attended a meeting of the No Limits-No Excuses initiative in Amarillo hosted by Amarillo ISD Superintendent Dr. Dana West and educational consultant Doug Curry.  The program works with Amarillo area school and community partners to create “pathways for low-income young adults to get an education beyond high school that leads to a living wage job with basic benefits and opportunities for advancement”.

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Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath.

On December 7,  Dr. Charles Luke traveled to Austin for a meeting of the Texas Senate Education Committee.  The committee meeting focused on funding for charter schools and teacher/student relationships.  Later that same day, Dr. Luke presided over a meeting of the Coalition for Public Schools in his role as Coordinator of that organization.   On December 14, Rev. Johnson issued a statement in response to Gov. Greg Abbott’s appointment of Mike Morath as Texas Commissioner of Education.  That statement was featured on Diane Ravitch’s daily blog and led to an interview of Rev. Johnson about the appointment by the Houston Chronicle .  Finally, on December 15, Dr. Luke met with Mark Guilbert, President of the Southlake, Texas Chamber of Commerce and Craig Rothmeier of Make Education a Priority to discuss ways that public education can be advanced and supported in the North Central Texas region.

As always, it has been a busy month and a pleasure to serve alongside  those supporting ALL of our Texas children throughout our great state!  We look forward to working with you all in the new year!  To receive regular updates and be listed as a partner with us please click here.  To donate to Pastors for Texas Children to help us continue to work hard to support and advance our Texas public schools, please click here  or send your donation by mail to:  Pastors for Texas Children, PO Box 471155, Fort Worth, Texas  76147.

May God richly bless each and every one of you!

November 15, 2015

A great deal has happened since our last update over a month ago!  Much of our time was spent in fundraising.  As many of you know Pastors for Texas Children (PTC) received a grant of $30,000 from The Meadows Foundation of Dallas, Texas.  The foundation stipulated that, if we could raise another $30,000 in one month, they would give us an additional $30,000 for a grand total grant of $60,000.  We turned to our friends and partners and asked them to help us raise the $30,000.  Due to your generosity, we raised  $42,860.00!!!  This significantly impacts the work that we can do moving forward and it is all due to you!  Again, we thank you!

Z931On September 24th, PTC staff began discussions with the staff at the Texas Association of Community Schools (TACS) on our participation in their Texas Educators Vote campaign.  The campaign is a concerted effort to “create a culture of voting” among schools and schoolteachers..  While TACS will never endorse a specific candidate, they will share strategies for districts to create a climate conducive to increasing voter participation among their staff.  You can participate by going to their website at www.texaseducatorsvote.com .  On September 30, we met with dedicated leaders Craig Rothmeier and Bobby Rigues of Make Education a Priority to continue discussion on how our organizations might work together to support public schoolchildren throughout the state.

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Dr. Gus Reyes and Kathryn Freeman of the Christian Life Commission with Dr. Charles Luke at the Hispanic Education Summit in Fort Worth.

On October 2, PTC Executive Director Rev. Charles F. Johnson joined Texans Advocating for Meaningful School Assessment Vice President Dr. Theresa Trevino in presenting  at the annual conference of the Texas Association of School Boards in Austin..   On October 7th, PTC Secretary-Treasurer Rev. Jeff Johnson spoke to approximately 50 school superintendents at Education Service Center 7 in Kilgore, Texas about the importance of community support for our public, neighborhood schools.  The meeting was hosted by ESC 7 Executive Director Elizabeth Abernethy.   On October 13th, Dr. Charles Luke attended the Hispanic Education Summit of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference in Fort Worth, Texas.  Dr. Luke connected with Hispanic leaders throughout the day in discussions about the value and importance of public education across the state for Hispanic students.

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Pastors of the Corsicana, Texas Ministerial Alliance discuss ways their churches can help support public schools!

On October 15th, Rev. Johnson met with school leaders and ministers in the ministerial alliance in Corsicana, Texas in a meeting designed to discuss the work of PTC and ways that the faith community can come alongside of the schools to provide wrap-around care and support in ways that are respectful to God, everyone concerned, and the first amendment premise of separation of church and state.   The meeting highlighted the great work and leadership of  Corsicana ISD Superintendent, Dr. Diane Frost, Region 12 Superintendent of the Year. Afterward, Rev. Johnson had a productive meeting with State Representive Byron Cook of Corsicana, expressing gratitude for Rep. Cook’s strong support for public education.  Later that afternoon Rev. Johnson was an invited guest in a roundtable discussion with noted public education advocate Diane Ravitch at TCU.  He was joined later in the evening by PTC Vice President Dr. Jimmie Chadwell, Superintendent of Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD, and Dr. Charles Luke.  The trio attended a presentation about our public schools by Diane Ravitch at Texas Christian University.

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Dr. Jimmie Chadwell, Dr. Charles Luke, Diane Ravitch, and Rev. Charles F. Johnson at TCU.

On November 8th, Rev. Johnson attended the annual banquet of the Texas Freedom Network (TFN)  in Austin, Texas where he was honored with the Samantha Smoot Grassroots Activist Award for his work in supporting public education.  TFN Executive Director Kathy Miller presided over the event and presented the award to Rev. Johnson.  On November 9-10 Rev. Johnson, PTC President Rev. Bobby Broyles, PTC Board Member Bill Jones and Dr. Charles Luke all attended the Baptist General Convention of Texas  – held in Frisco, Texas – in order to raise awareness of the value of public schools and to recruit new partners.  Highlights of the conference included PTC hosting a table at the Texas Baptists Committed luncheon.   Finally, on November 11th, Rev. Johnson and Dr. Luke met with Texas State Representative Charlie Geren to discuss the importance of public schools in our state.  Rep. Geren was very gracious and supportive of our neighborhood public schools.

PTC continues to work hard to ensure that ALL of our children have access to quality public schools.  Again, we appreciate the generosity of our partners who stepped-up and helped us meet our recent goal to further this much-needed work.   If you would like to support the work of PTC financially you may give by clicking here.   God bless you!  God bless the children, educators, parents and communities in our great state! God bless Texas!

September 21, 2015

As we finish the first month of school, Pastors for Texas Children has been working diligently to provide, develop and encourage support for our neighborhood public schools and our 5.3 million Texas public schoolchildren.   PTC currently has over 1200 partners from faith communities across Texas and we are growing daily.  You can help us grown even more by encouraging partners to sign up on our website here.    If you would like to become a supporter of PTC financially, you can make donations by clicking here.

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Rev. Dr. Alfie Wines blesses public schoolchildren at Dido UMC in Fort Worth, Texas.

During the last week of August, PTC was front and center in many schools to help children have a successful first week of school.  On August 27th, our Executive Director – Rev. Charles F. Johnson met with Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD Superintendent Dr. Jimmie Chadwell and the Rev.  Dr. Alfie Wines of the Dido United Methodist Church in Fort Worth to discuss ways that the church could work together with the school district to directly help children.  Rev. Johnson also met with Supt. John Kuhn of the Perrin-Whitt CISD on September 4th to discuss how PTC could connect that school district with area churches for the support of schoolchildren.

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Supt. John Kuhn works hard for kids at Perrin-Whitt CISD.

On September 1st, PTC filed an amicus curiae brief with the Supreme Court of Texas in the case of Williams v. The Texas Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition, et al – better known as the Texas school finance case.  The contention of PTC in the brief is that the current system is inequitable and inefficient but privatization is not an appropriate approach to resolving disputes in the case.  PTC filed the brief after a group of church-based private school operators filed a similar brief asking for state dollars to support religious schools – a clear violation of the first amendment principle of the separation of church and state that would lead to government infringement of our cherished religious liberties.  The entire PTC brief can be found here.   Following the filing of the PTC brief,  two Houston ISD students – Zaakir Tameez and Amy Fan filed a brief encouraging the court to provide adequate funding for all Texas public schools.

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Texas Assn. of Community Schools Executive Director – Barry Haenisch.

PTC continued to work throughout the month of September to assist the Coalition for Public Schools in planning community meetings to be held throughout the state early in 2016.  On September 14th Rev. Johnson and Dr. Charles Luke met with Dr. David Anthony – the Executive Director of Raise Your Hand Texas to discuss ways that PTC might continue to work with RYHT to support school improvement efforts in neighborhood public schools across Texas.  On September 14-15th the duo traveled to San Antonio for the annual meeting of the Texas Association of Community Schools (TACS) hosted by TACS Executive Director Barry Haenisch.  Rev. Johnson was a keynote speaker at the meeting.  On September 16th,  Rev. Johnson had a productive meeting with the Rev. Frank Briggs, senior minister of Fort Worth’s Lighthouse United Methodist Church, about networking possibilities among northwest Fort Worth faith communities.  Finally, on September 16th,  both Rev.z923 Johnson and Dr. Luke met with State Board of Education member Erica Beltran to discuss community efforts to directly assist Texas schoolchildren in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Later, that afternoon Johnson and Luke traveled to a reception honoring Sen. Jane Nelson for her work in support of public school funding in the Texas Legislature.  Rev. Johnson led the invocation at the reception hosted by Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD and the Coalition for Education Funding.

Pastors for Texas Children continues to work diligently to provide support for ALL of our Texas schoolchildren.   As we move into our third year we are exploring more ways to focus on the needs of children in neighborhood public schools.  Please contact us here and help us help you!

August 24, 2015 – First Day of School

On this first day of school for many school districts across the State of Texas, Pastors for Texas Children (PTC) would like to wish all of you a wonderful and productive start to your school year!

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A La Joya ISD student receives her first backpack full of books from a Texas AFT book drive!

With the school year just getting started, the forces of public school privatization are hard at work to defund our public schools!  As strange as it may seem, a group of church-based private school providers have filed an amicus brief in the school finance case asking for your tax dollars to help fund their private, religious schools!  Here is the response from PTC!

PTC has continued to work to support our neighborhood public schools and we look forward to working with all of you this coming school year for the good of ALL of our Texas children.

Here’s what has happened during the month of August!

PTC ministers Cameron Vickrey (Woodland Baptist Church) and Debbie Potter (Trinity Baptist Church) met with San Antonio education advocacy leaders in Go Public on August 6 to plan an upcoming PTC luncheon there.  They join University of the Incarnate Word Education Professor, Dr. Mary Ruth Moore (Crestview Baptist Church) as instrumental leaders in our San Antonio efforts.

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PTC Board Member Dr. Jeff Johnson.

Dr. Charles Luke and Rev. Charles F. Johnson had a productive visit on August 7 with Granbury First United Methodist Pastor Scott Goodfellow and Granbury ISD Superintendent James Largent on August 5 about a joint Pastors for Texas Children/Coalition for Public Schools town hall meeting there.  The meeting will be part of a series of meetings across the state to raise awareness for the value of our public schools.

Commerce pastor, PTC board member, and former Baptist General Convention of Texas president, Dr. Jeff Johnson led a group of pastors and community leaders in an early morning prayer session on August 10 for the schools of Dekalb ISD with Superintendent John Booth.  Rev. Johnson met on the morning of August 12 for the Leadership Breakfast of the Lake Dallas ISD hosted by Superintendent Gayle Stinson.

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Rev. Charles Johnson and Theresa Trevino of TAMSA.

On August 13 both Rev. Johnson and Dr. Luke traveled to Austin where they met with leaders from several pro-education groups including Craig Rothmeier from Making Education A Priority, Mark Terry from Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA) and Theresa Trevino from Texans Advocating for Meaningful Student Assessment (TAMSA).  The meeting centered around ways that our groups can work together to help support our public schools.  Rev. Johnson and Dr. Luke were also privileged to meet with Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock later that same day to discuss support for our public schools and finished out the day with a meeting with Grover Campbell of the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB).

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Rev. Charles Johnson, Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock and Dr. Charles Luke.

On August 14 Rev. Johnson addressed the staff of the Valley Mills ISD in an early back-to-school convocation.  The next week was full for Rev. Johnson as he addressed school district faculty and staff members in Paris ISD, Waco ISD, Navarro ISD, Elgin ISD and Stratford ISD.

PTC continues to work hard to engender support from the entire community for our neighborhood public schools.  You can encourage people to sign up as partners here.  You can support our work financially here.  We ask that you keep us in your prayers as we work to help guarantee a secure future for our Texas schoolchildren.

August 3, 2015

Pastors for Texas Children (PTC) continues to remain busy throughout the Summer.  As of July 31st PTC has just completed our second year of operation.  We have conducted over 250 meetings across the great state of Texas.  We now have over 1100 signed pastors, ministers, lay leaders and educators to help in the fight to support our neighborhood public schools.

Now, more than ever PTC needs your help!  If you know of someone who has not signed up please forward this to them and tell them to sign up on our website heredonate287x120.

If you would consider supporting Pastors for Texas Children with a gift to help us in our work, please donate by clicking the red button to the right. Any amount will be appreciated and is tax deductible.

During the last couple of weeks of July, PTC has  worked to further our efforts to garner support for our Texas schoolchildren.  On July 14th both Rev. Charles F. Johnson and Dr. Charles Luke met with the steering committee of the Coalition for Public Schools to talk about ways that PTC could work with other education organizations around the state to advance the cause of public education.  That same afternoon, the duo met with leaders from Texas Impact to discuss methods for working with faith communities across the state to develop strategies to meet the needs of our children.

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Rev. Charles F. Johnson (L), Judy McCormick – Exec. Dir. of P16 and Dr. Charles Luke (R) in San Antonio.

On July 16th PTC San Antonio Director Cameron Vickrey, Rev. Johnson and Dr. Luke met with leaders from the P16 Plus Council of Greater Bexar County in San Antonio, Texas.  The P16 Council has a mission to “ensure that every child dramatically improves their educational success in school, college and career within Bexar County.”  PTC and P16 are in the process of discovering ways that the two groups can collaborate on projects to help our neighborhood public schools in the San Antonio area.   Later that same day Rev. Johnson and Dr. Luke met with Rev. Carl Rohlfs, Superintendent of the San Antonio District of the United Methodist ChurchRev. Rohlfs was very excited about the work of Pastors for Texas Children and expressed a willingness to work together to help our public neighborhood schools however possible.

On July 17th Rev. Johnson traveled to Waco, Texas where he met with Dr. Bonnie Leslie and Linda Etheridge from Texas Kids Can’t Wait to discuss ways that our organizations can work together to support public schools in our state. On July 26th Rev. Johnson shared PTC’s message with a West Texas faith community by preaching a sermon at the Second Baptist Church of Lubbock, Texas entitled “The Spirituality of Education”.

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Rev. Charles F. Johnson and Principals and Administrators from Lake Dallas ISD.

PTC held two meetings to discuss how to work with other organizations during the last week of July.  On July 29th Dr. Luke met with Dr. David AnthonyExecutive Director of Raise Your Hand Texas and on July 30th Rev. Johnson met with Dr. Godfrey Hubert, pastor of Foundry United Methodist Church of Houston and the Board Vice President of Cy-Hope - a nonprofit dedicated to the enrichment of the lives of children from the Cypress-Fairbanks, Texas area.  Finally, PTC finished out the month of July with an encouraging meeting by Rev. Johnson on July 31st with Lake Dallas ISD principals and administrators headed by Dr. Gayle Stinson.

PTC continues to work hard to help our neighborhood public schools!  Please keep us in your prayers as we work to help support the hard work of educating our kids by our educators and our communities.

July 13, 2015

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Dr. Charles Luke (L), Rev. Charles Foster Johnson (C), and Mark Henry – Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Assn. (R).

Over the last month Pastors for Texas Children (PTC) has continued to work to develop support for our Texas neighborhood public schoolchildren across the state.  Following sine die of the 84th Texas Legislature, PTC held a reception for friends and supporters in Austin, Texas on June 5th.  The reception was well attended by leaders from a number of public education support organizations.  On June 8th Dr. Charles Luke met with school leaders Dr. Mark Henry and Teresa Hull from the Cypress-Fairbanks ISD to discuss ways that PTC might expand our work and partnerships in the Houston area.  Dr. Mark Henry and his staff have graciously supported PTC throughout our development of work in the area.  On June 9th Dr. Luke and Rev. Charles F. Johnson met with members of the Coalition for Public Schools as a follow-up to the legislative session and to discuss ways to continue to support public schools.

On June 11th, Dr. Luke attended a review of the legislative session hosted by the Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium (TEGAC).  TEGAC has been a strong supporter of PTC in the past and we look forward to partnerships with them in the future.   On June 13th, Rev. Johnson was a special guest at the Texas-American Federation of Teachers (Texas AFT) annual luncheon.  Texas AFT presented Rev. Johnson with the Community Activist Hero award at this luncheon for his diligent work in support of our Texas schoolchildren and teachers. In receiving this honor he said, “On behalf of our 1100 pastors and faith leaders, I am humbled to accept this recognition. It is our great privilege to stand with our dedicated schoolteachers in their high and holy work of shaping and training our children.”

z903On June 17th, PTC met with planning partners to discuss work to support our public schools moving forward.   A detailed plan of work was outlined in this very productive meeting.   Later that week – on June 19th – Rev. Johnson and Dr. Luke represented PTC at the annual meeting of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in Dallas, Texas.  The pair traveled to Fort Worth later that evening where Rev. Johnson was the featured speaker at the annual meeting of the Texas Rural Education Association (TREA), led by Executive Director Don Rogers.  TREA honored Rev. Johnson by presenting him with the Distinguished Service Award for his work supporting public education in Texas.

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Texas State Rep. Ramon Romero (L) and Rev. Charles Foster Johnson (R).

On the evening of June 29, Rev. Johnson prayed the invocation before a great gathering of Fort Worthians at a reception for State Rep. Ramon Romero. We are grateful for Rep. Romero’s strong support for Texas public education.  On June 30th, Rev. Johnson and PTC Board Member David Russell met with Texas State Senator Kel Seliger in his office in Amarillo, Texas to discuss ways that Sen. Seliger can continue to support our Texas public schools in the future.  Sen. Seliger was very welcoming and supportive of the mission of PTC in our efforts to provide wrap-around care and support for public schoolchildren from the faith community.

PTC leaders took a short break for the first two weeks of July to rest and recharge but we will continue to work diligently to support our neighborhood public schools and the communities in which they reside across our great state!   Remember, if you aren’t signed up as a PTC partner you can sign up here!  If you would like to donate you can click here!  Thank you for your continued support of our mission and of ALL of our Texas schoolchildren!

June 2, 2015

Pastors for Texas Children has had a busy two weeks as the 84th session of the Texas Legislature wound down and finally ended on June 1, 2015.  During this time Dr. Charles Luke remained in Austin monitoring the work of the legislature with regard to support for neighborhood public schools.  We are proud to say that very little legislation that is bad for public school children was passed.

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Texas Governor Gregg Abbott

On May 13th our Executive Director – Rev. Charles Foster Johnson and Dr. Charles Luke met with staff members from Gov. Greg Abbott’s office to congratulate the governor on the passage of his Pre-K bill and to discuss ways that PTC can work with the governor’s office in the future to provide support for our public schoolchildren.   Later that same evening Rev. Johnson attended a showing of the film The Texas Promise at Chisolm Trail High School in Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD.

On May 20th, Rev. Johnson spoke to a group of ministers about the role of public education in our communities at a meeting of the Granbury Ministerial Alliance in Granbury, Texas.   This was followed by a conference call on May 22nd with the Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium (TEGAC) to discuss efforts made by member organizations to advance early education throughout the state.

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Teachers in the Humble ISD gather for their annual Teacher of the Year Banquet.

On May 27th, Rev. Johnson attended the Humble ISD Teacher of the Year Banquet hosted by Superintendent Guy Sconzo.  An inspirational speech was delivered at the banquest by Amen Mesfin, a 2015 graduate of Atascocita High School.  You may reach that speech by clicking here.  Rev. Johnson then spoke to a number of pastors and educators at the Humble ISD District Offices regarding the work of PTC throughout the state in support of our public school children.

At the close of the 84th Texas legislative session we were saddened to see the announcement by our friend, Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, that he will not seek re-election and that this will be his last session.  Rep. Aycock was a strong supporter of our neighborhood public schools and he will be sorely missed.   Finally, Rev. Charles Foster Johnson issued this statement regarding the legislative session:

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Texas House members gather around Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock as he announces his retirement from the Texas Legislature.

 “Having just finished our first legislative session as advocates for our 5.2 million public schoolchildren, we are left with two main impressions. 

 The first is profound gratitude for the public service of our Governor, 31 Texas State Senators and 150 Texas State Representatives who work diligently to represent the people of our great state.

 The second is a profound conviction that we can and must do better provide quality education for all our children. We are dismayed to learn not only that Texas lags behind the rest of the country in public education funding, but also that there is an orchestrated strategy to dismantle public education as we have known it, and privatize it into a profit-making enterprise.

 As ministers and faith leaders, we dedicate ourselves to bearing bold witness to our policymakers that education is a gift from Almighty God, a basic human right, a constitutionally provided public benefit, and a fundamental component of God’s common good mandated in Holy Scripture and moral tradition.”

The work of Pastors for Texas Children has truly just begun.  We will continue to reach out to our churches and our schools to find ways that they can engage in meangingful, appropriate collaboration to help every one of our Texas public school children.  You can help us in two ways.  First, please forward this communication to any faith leader or educator  that you think would be interested in signing up with our organization.  They can sign up by clicking here.  Next, any financial support you can provide for PTC will be maximized to the greatest effect and will be truly appreciated.  You can provide financial support online by clicking here.

Thank you for all of your work to provide the best for ALL of our Texas children!  May God richly bless you.

May 12, 2015

Dr. Pam Wells – Executive Director of ESC 4.

Those of us at Pastors for Texas Children have been extremely busy over the past month.  Activity throughout the state and in the Texas Legislature has increased exponentially.  Here’s what has been happening over the past month:

On April 7th, our Executive Director, Rev. Charles Foster Johnson, spoke before the superintendents of Education Service Center, Region 4 in Houston hosted by ESC Director, Dr. Pam Wells and Asst. Director, Dr. Robby McGowan. As is always the case, this presentation has already led to a number of invitations to come to local districts to meet with clergy in those communities.  This is how our organization is growing statewide!

On April 8th Rev. Johnson – met with pastors and educators in Victoria, Texas at the Education Service Center, Region 3.  The meeting was hosted by ESC 3 Executive Director, Dr. Patty Shafer.   The following day Dr. Charles Luke sat on an education panel at the Christian Life Commission’s Advocacy Day in Austin at the First Methodist Church followed by attendance at the Senate Education Committee on April 14th.  Rev. Johnson spoke at a meeting of pastors and educators at the Liberty-Eylau Independent School District on April 15th about the need to support our neighborhood public schools. Superintendent Ben Carson convened a great group of ministers there.

Texas State Sen. Kel Seliger.

On April 20th PTC Board President Bobby Broyles, Rev. Johnson and Dr. Luke visited with Sen. Charles Perry (Lubbock) and the staff of Sen. Kel Seliger (Amarillo) regarding SB 4 – a tax credit voucher bill that we strongly urged them to oppose.  SB 4 was voted out of the Senate later that afternoon.  The vote count was as follows:

Yeas: Bettencourt, Birdwell, Campbell, Creighton, Eltife, Estes, Fraser, Hall, Hancock, Huffines, Huffman, Kolkhorst, Lucio, Nelson, Perry, Schwertner, L. Taylor, V. Taylor.

Nays: Burton, Ellis, Garcia, Hinojosa, Mene´ndez, Nichols, Rodrı´guez, Uresti, Watson, West, Whitmire, Zaffirini.

Absent-excused: Seliger.

Later that evening Rev. Johnson released a statement regarding the vote and the bill that can be found here.   The next day Dr. Charles Luke testified against SB 1513 – a voucher bill that would funnel public funds through public school districts directly to private and corporate schools.  Rev. Johnson was interviewed in the afternoon of April 21 by KRFE Radio from Lubbock, Texas about the work of PTC and SB 4.  That same day a task force working for Lt. Governor Dan Patrick released a statement in opposition to HB 4 – a bill advancing Pre-K in the state – calling our state’s public schools a “godless environment”.  PTC pastors have provided a number of op-ed responses across the state.  Links to those responses can be found here.

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Revs. Garrett and Cameron Vickrey and children in front of the Texas State Capitol.

On April 28th Revs. Cameron and Garrett Vickrey traveled to Austin to testify against SB 6, a bill that would establish an A-F rating system for public schools.  The Vickrey’s brought their children and later wrote an op-ed for the San Antonio Express News about the experience and about the assault on public education.  That article can be found here.  On April 29th Rev. Johnson spoke to a combined group of pastors and educators in Sulphur Springs at the First Baptist Church there.  On May 4th, Rev. Johnson met with a large group of Baptist pastors at the Sabine-Neches Baptist Association in Kirbyville, TX organized by Superintendent Steve Hyden and Director of Missions, Jerry Redkey.  The Alief ISD pastors hosted Rev. Johnson on May 6th in a  productive meeting convened by Superintendent H.D. Chambers.

PTC will continue to work hard in our communities to advance the cause of public education for ALL of our Texas children.  We would like to thank all of those who have joined us in this important work to date.  We are now over 1,000 strong!  You can help with a one-time or monthly donation by clicking here.  Have your friends sign up for our updates and information about how they can help by clicking here

April 7, 2015

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Rev. Charles Foster Johnson and Vanessa Roth, director of the documentary The Texas Promise.

As always, activity for the last two weeks have been very brisk for Pastors for Texas Children (PTC).  The first week started early on March 20th with the PTC Executive Director, Rev. Charles Foster Johnson traveling to New York City for a showing of The Texas Promise at the Lincoln Center hosted by Academy Award winning director Vanessa Roth.  This was followed by Rev. Bobby Broyles – the board President for PTC meeting with pastors in Tahoka, Texas to talk about ways that the faith community can provide wrap-around care and support for our neighborhood public schools.

On March 24th Dr. Charles Luke attended the House Public Education Committee meeting in Austin, Texas led by Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock (Killeen) to talk about a variety of public education bills.  Dr. Luke also attended a symposium of the Texas Center for Education Policy on March 25th to discuss vouchers and review research about why they are bad for Texas children at the First Methodist Church in Austin, Texas. 

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Rev. Kyle Henderson, Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Athens, Texas testifies before the Senate Committee on Education.

On March 26th PTC was aptly represented by Rev. Kyle Henderson (Sr. Pastor of First Baptist Church of Athens) and Rev. Bobby Broyles in a Senate Education Hearing involving several voucher bills.  Both Rev. Henderson and Rev. Broyles did a tremendous job of expressing the need for legislators to support our public schools by giving powerful testimony regarding first amendment protections for the faith community and the separation of church and state in Texas and in our nation.

On March 27th Dr. Luke represented PTC at a luncheon hosted by the First Presbyterian Church of Dallas and PTC member Rev. Dr. Joe Clifford to discuss the work of the non-profit organization Save Texas Schools and PTC  in providing a community schools model for the Dallas Independent School District.  The meeting was also attended by Dallas ISD Board of Trustees member Bernadette Nutall who expressed extreme interest in the model of coalescing  community support for Dallas neighborhood public schools.

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Allen Weeks, Executive Director of Save Texas Schools speaks to Dallas community members at the First Presbyterian Church of Dallas.

On Saturday, March 28th, PTC Executive Director Rev. Charles Foster Johnson spoke at a meeting of the Progressive Baptist Convention in Mineral Wells, Texas to discuss the need for the faith community to support our public neighborhood schools.  On March 31st PTC sent out a clarion call to our membership to support an amendment to HB 1 (the appropriations bill) by Rep. Abel Herrero to prohibit the use of state funds to support vouchers of any kind.  While the amendment was withdrawn PTC remains confident that vouchers in any form will be stopped in the Texas House of Representatives.

Pastors for Texas Children (PTC) continues to work hard to support our neighborhood public schools.  Any help you continue to provide is greatly appreciated.  You can continue to support our mission to provide wrap-around care and support for Texas public schoolchildren with your support for PTC by clicking here.  You can have your friends and supporters of our neighborhood schools sign up for our updates and to support Texas’ public schools by clicking here.

PTC thanks you for your support and care for our children!

March 18, 2015

The last few weeks have been a flurry of activity for Pastors for Texas Children.  We continue to work to build bridges of support among the faith community for local neighborhood public schools.  PTC stands strong for the separation of church and state and for providing long-term wrap-around care and support for all of the children in the State of Texas.

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Rev. Charles Foster Johnson (L) and ATPE President Richard Wiggins.

On February 22 our Executive Director – Rev. Charles Foster Johnson shared the stage with District Judge John Dietz as a keynote speaker for the annual meeting of the Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE).  Hundreds in attendance heard the message of PTC in support of our public schools.  The following day Rev. Johnson, PTC member Jackie Baugh-Moore and Dr. Charles Luke toured Webb Middle School in Austin, Texas to see the work of Save Texas Schools.  Webb Middle School, which at one time was slated for closure, is a prime example of what a community can do to support a neighborhood school when they focus their resources and efforts.  Webb is supported by several churches in the Austin area.

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Texas Senator Eddie Lucio II addresses the TEGAC meeting.

Both Rev. Johnson and Dr. Luke attended the Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium (TEGAC) conference in Austin February 23-24.  TEGAC is comprised of several foundations across the state that have come together to support advocacy for public schools.  TEGAC’s specific advocacy issue for this legislative session is support for full-day Pre-Kindergarten progams.   On February 26, Rev. Johnson and PTC President Rev. Bobby Broyles spoke to a large crowd of pastors and educators at the Region 14 Education Service Center in Abilene, Texas regarding the efforts of PTC to provide support for public education in their region and across the state.  The meeting was hosted by ESC 14 Executive Director Ronnie Kincaid. Then, on February 27 Rev. Johnson spoke to a large crowd at a meeting of the Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education (TCASE), expressing the value of strong neighborhood public schools in meeting the needs of special education students.

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Pastors and educators meet at Region 14 Education Service Center in Abilene, Texas.

Hosted by Executive Director David Fitts on March 4, Rev. Johnson again met with pastors and educators at the Region 8 Education Service Center in Pittsburg, Texas to discuss ways the faith community in East Texas can provide appropriate support for our Texas public schools.  Rev. Johnson was interviewed later that same day by John Savage of The Texas Observer about the growing work of PTC.   Finally, on March 10 Rev. Johnson addressed the morning meeting of the Austin Baptist Ministers Union to specifically address why vouchers don’t work and are a bad idea for Texas.  Dr. Charles Luke addressed the same group later that evening.   On that same day, PTC President Rev. Bobby Broyles – the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Ballinger – provided strong testimony on behalf of full-day Pre-K in front of the House Public Education Committee of the Texas Legislature.

The work of Pastors for Texas Children continues to move forward at a fast pace.  The convention of the 84th Texas Legislature has added to our workload exponentially.  It is critical that the faith-community provide the kind of care and support for our children that is noticed by the legislature.  A phone call to your legislator is strongly encouraged.  Express to them that you support our public neighborhood schools and that you want to see them fully funded and you oppose any efforts to drain public funds away from them to private enterprise.

Finally, if you haven’t signed up for Pastors for Texas Children please do so here to make your voice count with the hundreds of pastors and educators who support our neighborhood public schools.  Donations to PTC can be made here.  Any amount is appreciated to support this work to ensure that ALL of our children receive a quality education.

February 22, 2015

In Austin and around the state, issues related to public education are heating up and Pastors for Texas Children continues to work hard to provide support for our neighborhood public schools.  Our recent work over has included multiple partnership and legislative meetings as well as two showings of Academy Award winner Vanessa Roth’s film The Texas Promise.  Here is what has been happeningz830 with us over the last few weeks:

On February 2, 2015 our Executive Director, Rev. Charles Foster Johnson met with pastors in a meeting hosted by the Lake Travis Independent School District and their superintendent Dr. Brad Lancaster.  Later that same day, Rev. Johnson and PTC representative Dr. Charles Luke met with the Chairman of the House Public Education Committee, Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock and Rep. Dan Huberty for a discussion about how to best support public education in Texas.  Both Chairman Aycock and Rep. Huberty were very gracious and voiced strong support for our neighborhood public schools.   The next morning – February 3rd – Rev. Johnson was honored to lead the opening invocation for the Texas House of Representatives at the invitation of Rep. Ramon Romero.

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PTC Board President Rev. Bobby Broyles presents to over 300 pastors, community leaders and public school superintendents in Amarillo.

On February 4th Rev. Johnson, PTC President Rev. Bobby Broyles, and Dr. Gus Reyes, Executive Director of the Christian Life Commission of the Baptist General Convention of Texas spoke to over 300 pastors, community leaders, and school superintendents in Amarillo at the Region 16 Education Service Center hosted by ESC 16 Executive Director John Bass.  The meeting was reported in the Amarillo Globe and can be found here.  On February 6th Rev. Johnson spoke to a large group of assembled principals at a meeting of the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA) about the need to provide quality educational opportunity to ALL of our Texas children.

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Pastor John Wheatley, FBC Valley Mills and Dr. Judi Whitis, Supt. of Valley Mills ISD.

A meeting of the PTC Advisory Board including former Commissioner of Education Mike Moses and Dr. David Anthony of Raise Your Hand Texas was held on February 10th to discuss organizational issues and the continued development of the work of PTC.  That same evening, Dr. Charles Luke attended a showing of The Texas Promise hosted by Dr. Bonnie Cain and the Waco ISD and participated in the following question and answer period.    Rev. Johnson continued the work during this week with a meeting of pastors, community leaders and school superintendents hosted by the Region 17 Educational Service Center and ESC 17 Executive Director Dr. Kyle Wargo in Lubbock, Texas.   Rev. Johnson also met on February 18th with pastors and superintendents in Midland, Texas at the Region 18 Education Service Center hosted by ESC 18 Executive Director John Thomas.   Finally, Rev. Johnson rounded out the week by attending a showing of The Texas Promise hosted by Pastor John Wheatley of the First Baptist Church of Valley Mills and Dr. Judi Whitis of the Valley Mills ISD.

PTC continues to spread the good word about public education in Texas and to look for partnerships and opportunities to support neighborhood public schools across Texas.   Please join us in our efforts by volunteering to help, donating here, or signing up to receive information and action alerts.

February 1, 2015

Pastors for Texas Children (PTC) has been very busy as we launch into 2015!  We continue to work hard to help ensure that ALL Texas children have access to strong public neighborhood schools.

The 84th Texas Legislature convened on January 13th of this year.  PTC representatives Rev. Charles F. Johnson and Dr. Charles Luke have been working with educational stakeholders in communities across Texas to continue a strong advocacy for our public schools in our state capital.  Late in January the Legislative Budget Board released the budget for the next biennium and included an additional $2.2 billion for education.  PTC continues to advocate for strong, equitable and adequate funding for our public education system.

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PTC Executive Director Rev. Charles Foster Johnson.

On January 14th, Rev. Johnson met with school leaders at the Region 5 Educational Service Center  in Beaumont, Texas to discuss ways that PTC could continue to support Texas public schools.  On the same date Dr. Charles Luke was interviewed by  National Public Radio’s Houston Public Media affiliate about the work of PTC in communities and the current legislative session.  Rev. Johnson finished out the week with a meeting of the board of Texas Baptists Committed on January 15th and addressed a room full of principals in the meeting of the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association on January 16th.  Later that same day Rev. Johnson conducted the memorial service for Linda Bridges, President of Texas American Federation of Teachers.  We will all miss this strong advocate of public schools.

On January 21st Dr. Charles Luke presented the work of PTC to over 40 ministers at the Cypress Fairbanks ISD Faith Advisory Cabinet meeting in Houston, Texas.  A future meeting has been planned to discuss a community-based partnership with PTC, the school district and Cy-Hope - a nonprofit organization focused on providing tangible support for the children of the school district.  PTC’s San Antonio Director – Rev. Cameron Vickery attended the Go Public steeringz823 committee for PTC on January 23.  Go Public is a public education advocacy and support effort in the San Antonio area.  We finished out the week with an interview of Rev. Johnson on AM radio in Lubbock, Texas about the work of PTC in communities across the state.

In the final week of January Dr. Charles Luke attended the 15th Annual School Finance and Legislative Workshop held by the Equity Center – an Austin-based organization focused on ensuring adequate and equitable  funding for Texas public schools.  Dr. Luke also represented PTC at the TASA 2015 Midwinter Conference held by the Texas Association of School Administrators in Austin from January 25-28.

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Dr. Charles Luke (Center) with Friends of Texas Public Schools founders Scott and Leslie Milder.

On the evening of January 28th, Dr. Luke delivered the invocation for the Friends of Texas Public Schools annual awards dinner, honoring noted national education leader Diane Ravitch and emceed by former Texas Commissioner of Education and PTC Advisory Board member Dr. Mike Moses.

Finally, on January 30th Dr. Luke was interviewed by CBS Radio’s Chris Fox about school vouchers.  Segments of the interview were also aired on Texas Public Radio.

Pastors for Texas Children will continue to work hard to support our neighborhood public schools!  You can help in this effort with your donation on our website at www.pastorsfortexaschildren.com  .

January 16, 2015

Pastors for Texas Children continues to work to impact communities in support of our neighborhood public schools.  As the new year has begun we have worked diligently to create partnerships that will benefit ALL Texas schoolchildren.

On January 7th our Executive Director – Rev. Charles Foster Johnson and Dr. 1Charles Luke met with Allen Weeks and Phillip Tryon of Save Texas Schools to discuss a partnership to work with neighborhood public schools to sustain continuous school improvement.  Save Texas Schools has created a community involvement approach that will help our schools be the best they can be and continue providing high quality educational experiences for kids well into the future.

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School leaders at the Del Valle Independent School District meeting with PTC.

On January 8th, Rev. Johnson met with school leaders in Salado, Texas to further the message and mission of PTC in the Central Texas Region.  On January 9th, he continued that work with a meeting of school leaders in the Del Valle Independent School District.

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Judge Ken Starr addresses over 200 ministers and school leaders at the Baylor luncheon featuring Pastors for Texas Children.

Finally, on January 12th PTC was honored to be hosted by Judge Ken Starr and Baylor University at a meeting of well over 200 area ministers, school leaders and dignitaries held at Truett Seminary in Waco, Texas.  Judge Starr, Dean Jon Engelhardt and Rev. Johnson spoke to the crowd about the value of public education and the need for continued support for our schools.  Former Commissioner of Education Mike Moses – a PTC advisory board member – was present along with PTC Board Members Dr. Jimmie Chadwell, Rev. Jeff Johnson and Rev. Bobby BroylesDr. David Anthony, the Executive Director of Raise Your Hand Texas introduced Rev. Johnson to the group.

Pictures of the Baylor University luncheon can be found by clicking here.

December 22, 2014

Pastors for Texas Children (PTC) continues to work diligently to promote the value of public education throughout the State of Texas!  Over the past two-weeks a great deal of work has been done to provide support for our public neighborhood schools and to advance the mission of PTC.

On December 8 the PTC Board of Directors met in Fort Worth for a full day of planning and organizational development.  The following officers were elected:  Bobby Broyles, the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Ballinger, Texas was elected as PresidentJimmie Chadwell, superintendent of the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw Independent School District was elected as Vice President.  Dr. Jeff Johnson, the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Commerce and former President of the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT) was elected as the Secretary-Treasurer.

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L to R: PTC President Rev. Bobby Broyles; PTC Vice President Dr. Jim Chadwell; and PTC Secretary Treasurer Rev. Jeff Johnson.

Rev. Charles F. Johnson, the Executive Director of PTC attended a powerful meeting at the Region 9 Education Service Center in Wichita Falls on December 10 hosted by Executive Director Wes Pierce and a large number of public school superintendents and area pastors.  On the same day PTC San Antonio area representative Rev. Cameron Vickery and Dr. Charles Luke attended the Regional Advisory Committee Meeting of the Region 20 Education Service Center in San Antonio.  Later that same day Rev. Johnson met with State Representative Elect Ramon Romero at the PTC offices in Fort Worth.  Dr. Luke also visited over 75 legislative offices at the Capitol December 9-12.

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Rev. Charles Foster Johnson is interviewed by Digital Producer Charlotte Johnson for Raise Your Hand Texas.

On Monday, December 15, Raise Your Hand Texas representatives Anne Bannister and Charlotte Moore arrived in Fort Worth to interview Rev. Charles F. Johnson for a video they are producing.  Raise Your Hand Texas is a strong supporter of PTC and continues to include us in their extremely effective efforts to promote and empower public schools in our great state!

Next, both Rev. Johnson and Dr. Luke attended a tremendous meeting hosted by South Main Baptist Church in Houston and led by Pastor Steve Wells.  The meeting was well-attended by area pastors and educators from Rice University and the Region 4 Education Service Center.  The meeting featured a presentation by Dr. Ruth Lopez Turley, a professor of sociology at Rice University and the Director of the Houston Education Research Consortium.   Dr. Turley presented compelling evidence that public neighborhood schools provide the best opportunity for children to advance and she indicated that her research shows that privatization efforts often lead to segregation and limit social mobility opportunities.

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HWH Partner Chip Harper, Rev. Charles F. Johnson and HWH Business Devpt. Mgr. Cory Wood at the Paris, Texas PTC meeting.

Finally,  Rev. Charles F. Johnson, Rev. Jeff Johnson and Dr. Luke all attended a meeting in Paris, Texas hosted by the building and engineering firm Harrison, Walker and Harper (HWH).  HWH Partner Chip Harper and Business Development Manager Cory Wood work hard to provide support for public schools and generously hosted a meeting and a luncheon of a large number of area pastors and educators.  The meeting was a success as both educators and clergy voiced strong support for PTC and our mission to mobilize the faith community in support of neighborhood public schools.

Finally, on December 22, PTC Board Member David Currie, former Executive Director of Texas Baptists Committed published an article in the San Angelo Standard-Times outlining the connection between Christian love for our community and the mission of supporting public education.  The article can be found by clicking here.

As you can see December has been a very busy month for us.  We are very thankful for the support of all of our partners and those who have come alongside of us this year.  If you would like to provide financial support before the end of the year, you can donate to PTC here .

We would like to wish each of you a very heartfelt Merry Christmas!  God bless all of you as we work together to help our children!

 

December 8, 2014

The last couple of weeks have been busy for Pastors for Texas Children (PTC).  We attended the Senate Education Committee Hearing on November 17 at the Capitol and Dr. Charles Luke testified against vouchers and the privatization of public education.  His testimony can be heard by clicking here and scrolling to 04:29:24 in the video.

On November 18 both Rev. Charles Foster Johnson and Dr. Luke attended the Texas Baptist Convention in Waco, Texas in efforts to recruit pastors and lay-leaders to join PTC.   Rev. Johnson gave a special charge at this meeting for support for Texas Baptists Committed (http://www.txbc.org).

This was followed on November 19 with a PTC meeting with Rev. Charles Foster Johnson and Dr. Gayle Stinson, Superintendent of Lake Dallas ISD and leaders of the Lake Dallas community to discuss ways that all of us can work together to help public education in the DFW area.

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Sen. Charles Perry spoke at ESC 15 meeting.

On the same day PTC Board Chair Rev. Bobby Broyles and PTC partner Rev. Taylor Sandlin led a meeting at the Education Service Center 15 in San Angelo, Texas to discuss the role of public education in the community and to voice support for teachers, students and parents.  The meeting was hosted by ESC 15 Executive Director Scott Goen and incluced an education update by Texas State Senator Charles Perry.

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Paul Brown interviews Dr. Charles Luke on Capitol Tonight.

Next, news anchor Paul Brown of Capitol Tonight in Austin sat down with PTC’s Dr. Charles Luke to discuss vouchers and an upcoming pre-legislative symposium Dr. Luke moderated in his role with the Coalition for Public Schools.  The segment aired on television in the Austin area on December 1 but can be seen by clicking here .  Dr. Luke moderated the Pre-Legislative Education Symposium for the Coalition for Public Schools the next day in the Capitol auditorium in Austin.  The symposium panelists included several respected education researchers and Texas education leaders.  Finally, PTC was represented by Dr. Luke serving as a panelist in a discussion about child advocacy at the Statewide Early Learning Conference in Fort Worth, Texas presented by the National League of Cities.

 

November 15, 2014

Pastors for Texas Children continues to work hard to advance the cause of public education for ALL Texas children.

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School Attorney Jim Walsh voices support for PTC.

Within the past two weeks we saw PTC gain more recognition as an organization.  In the November issue of Texas School Business magazine, an article by noted Texas school attorney Jim Walsh called attention to the work that we are doing and the consistent message of hope from our Executive Director, Rev. Charles F. Johnson.  The article, entitled “Finding friends of public ed” can be found online on page 7 of the November, 2014 issue of Texas School Business .

On Wednesday, November 12 our Director of Development,  Dr. Charles Luke met with State Board of Education Member Pat Hardy in Weatherford, Texas to discuss the work of PTC.  Ms. Hardy expressed support for PTC and agreed to author an article about the work her church – Travis Avenue Baptist Church of Fort Worth – is doing to help public schools.

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DFW area superintendents and pastors meet to work with Pastors for Texas Children.

Finally, Pastors for Texas Children met with the Dallas-Fort Worth Consortium in a wonderful meeting that included pastors and superintendents from Birdville ISD, Carroll ISD, Denton ISD, Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD, Grapevine-Colleyville ISD and  Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD.   The meeting was hosted by Dr. Jimmie Chadwell of the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD.  The group pledged to work together to empower area churches to  support public education by working with neighborhood schools to meet the needs of children.

 

October 31, 2014

Dear Friends,

It has been an extremely busy week for Pastors for Texas Children!

On Tuesday, Dr. Charles Luke from PTC met with Texas State Representative Kyle Kacal,  Education Service Center Director Dr. Jerry Maze and his staff in Waco for an invigorating meeting.  Rep. Kacal is a strong advocate of Texas public schools and committed to help PTC in advancing both ministry and advocacy for schoolchildren throughout the state.  Dr. Maze has been a strong supporter of our efforts for several months now and is a good friend to us and to public schools.

This was followed that same evening by a premier showing of The Texas Promise – a new documentary by Academy Award Winning Director Vanessa Roth.  PTC is featured prominently as a champion of public education throughout the film and Vanessa Roth did a good job of capturing the charisma and commitment of our Executive Director, Rev. Charles (Charlie) Johnson as he gave his strong arguments for educating ALL children in the state.   The showing was attended by a large crowd and PTC was aptly represented by over a dozen attendees.  Watch the trailer at www.thetexaspromisemovie.org and read about the movie on our website at www.pastorsfortexaschildren.com .

Finally, articles regarding Pastors for Texas Children have shown up twice in other online publications.  Last week an Op-Ed was written by Rev. George Mason and Rev. Frederick Haynes of Dallas supporting public schools and citing PTC as a major force in the fight for our children.  You can read that op-ed here.  This article made it to noted public education proponent Diane Ravitch’s blog later that week.   This article was also posted on TexasISD.com as was an article written ealier today by Dr. Charles Luke about a voucher proposition in the Texas Prekindergarten Expansion Grant application submitted to the federal government by the Texas Education Agency.  You can read that article on our website as well.

Have a great weekend and thank you for your support for our public schools!

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