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DID YOU KNOW...

8.5% is the arbitrary benchmark rate set by the Texas Education Agency for the number of Special Education Students in a school district that may receive Special Education.  Even children with severe disabilities, including deafness and blindness, can't always get special education. 

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What Ethnic Diversity Looks Like: Fort Bend

This article was written by Corey Maclaggan and origninally appeared in the New York Times on November 24th, 2013.

Nikhil Sabharwal of Toronto stood outside a hotel, next to a cart piled with luggage, holding a tall stick decorated with gold garland, a bhangra dance prop from an Indian wedding he had attended here. Steps away, at a coffee shop, a woman wearing a hijab sat near the spot where, minutes earlier, Lynne Gabriel, a fashion blogger of Filipino descent, had posed for photos for her website.

Texans Together Participates in San Jacinto River Press Conference

The San Jacinto River Coalition is in full gear for the next steps in the fight to clean up the waste pits for good. Yesterday the Coalition held a press conference to discuss the recent report released by the Army Corps of Engineers which casts serious doubts on the integrity of the temporary remediation cap built by the responsible parties. Additionally, representatives from Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan’s office were on hand to outline to ongoing lawsuit against Waste Management and International Paper, the companies responsible for the pollution.

Spanish EHL Class Graduates

 
Our Graduating Class

Last Tuesday on December 10th, Texans Together graduated our latest EHL class at Our Lady Of Guadalupe church in Baytown, Texas. This was the first in a new series of classes oriented toward the Spanish speaking community with the entire curriculum being offered in Spanish. The class was taught by Chris Shillaci and lasted six weeks and everyone learned a lot and had a great time.

Time for Caring

 
Thank You! Your support has made it possible for Texans Together to train and engage 225 minority grassroots leaders since 2011, and develop the best organizing staff in Texas. In 2014 we plan to expand our Empowering Houston Leaders program, spreading grassroots leaders across the Greater Houston area before the November elections. Please consider a year–end gift so that we can train even more grassroots leaders to empower their neighbors to get involved in their communities and vote.  

$15 Wage in Fast Food Stirs Debate on Effects

(This story was written by Steven Greenhouse and orginially appeared in The New York Times.)
 
As fast-food workers plan yet another round of one-day strikes on Thursday in cities around the country, labor leaders, economists and industry officials continue to debate the potential effects of raising wages at companies that often assert that such increases would raise consumer prices and shrink the work force.

VP Biden meets with Texans Together staff in Houston

After a bumpy rollout of the Health Insurance Marketplace, enrollment was slow, to say the least. But the HealthCare.gov website is working better than ever and Texans Together is ready to double down on our efforts helping Houston to get covered. During his recent trip Houston, Vice President Joe Biden met with a small group of community leaders for an informal update on the progress of the exchange website. Among that group were Texans Together's Executive Director Charhonda Cox and Field Coordinator Eva Calvillo. 

What's in your Flounder?

(This article was written by Jakie Young an environmental geologist and organizer with Texans Together.)

The San Jacinto River is highly sought after for water sports, fishing, swimming, and waterfront living. Little do most Houstonians know that the river is polluted with toxic waste containing Agent Orange (dioxin), mercury, and many other toxic chemicals. The San Jacinto River Waste Pits, impoundment sites built in the mid ‘60s, are on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Priority List. Niagara Falls’ Love Canal was once on the same list, and is known as a “national symbol of a failure to exercise a sense of concern for future generations”. The San Jacinto River Waste Pits are headed in the exact same direction.

In Report, 63% Back Way to Get Citizenship

(This article is by Julia Preston. It originally appeared in the New York Times on November 25th, 2013.)
A consistent and solid majority of Americans — 63 percent — crossing party and religious lines favors legislation to create a pathway to citizenship for immigrants living in the United States illegally, while only 14 percent support legal residency with no option for citizenship, according a report published Monday by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute.

Congratulations EHL Grads!

Wednesday night a group of highly talented Harris County Residents completed Texans Together’s Empower Houston Leaders class. After seven weeks learning about civic engagement, recruiting, and direct action organizing, these newly trained leaders are ready to join Houston’s grassroots organizing network, EHL.

Over the course of their class the students focused on a group project to GET OUT THE VOTE for the 2013 municipal elections. Students used the skills they were taught to engage friends, family, and neighbors on the issues they cared about and turned them out to make their voice heard at the ballot box.

 

Signing Up for Health Insurance in California Was Hell, But I'm Glad I Did It

(This is an article by Eric Kingsbury. It was originally  published by the the  The New Republic.)

As a nearly 25-year-old, healthy, non-smoking male living in San Francisco, I’ve spent the last six months preparing to be screwed by the Affordable Care Act. Everywhere I’ve turned there’s been talk of "rate shock," and a "War on Bros," with even the most reassuring pieces telling me that my premiums would likely go up. And all of that came before website glitches hobbled exchanges nationwide, even here in California. It was enough to convince me to consider just paying the $95 penalty and going uninsured yet again. Then I actually logged on.

I was uninsured for about 10 months. Both of my parents lost their jobs—and their insurance—during the Great Recession, with the coverage I received through my father expiring at the end of 2012. Working as an unpaid intern at The New Republic, and living off of unemployment insurance and the money I made by selling my car, I wasn’t in the financial situation to consider insurance for the first six months of the year. Finally, I got a well-paying contract job at a Bay Area tech firm in August, but the staffing agency that employed me offered such an awful plan that I was better off buying insurance on the individual market. I decided to risk going uninsured a little longer.

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Texans Together Education Fund

P.O. Box 1296
Houston, Texas 77251-1296

713-782-8833

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by Dr. Radut