As the prospects for passage of voucher legislation diminish in Texas, it is time to give thanks to the tireless work of the Pastors for Texas Children. The battle is not over until the legislative session ends, but it is still time to thank those who have worked so hard on behalf of our children, their teachers, and their public schools.

This is an organization with some 2,000 members who represent faith communities across the state. They are led by Rev. Charles Foster Johnson, who understands that separation of church and state is the best protection for religious liberty and that every child in the state should have an excellent public education.

Here is an excerpt from his weekly bulletin:

A Note from Rev. Charles Foster Johnson – Executive Director of PTC

We are conducting introductory conversations with faith leaders all over the country as news of our mission spreads. We have been in productive conference calls this week with Episcopal leaders of Massachusetts and Virginia, as well as church leaders fighting privatization in Indiana. We have had face-to-face meetings with pastors in Kentucky and Mississippi, and are grateful now to have our first state partner affiliate in Pastors for Oklahoma Kids. The movement to mobilize the faith community for public education support and advocacy is going nationwide!

Of course, our main focus is right here in Texas where we still have much work to do in fighting bad policies such as the SB 3 “school choice” voucher bill, the punishing A-F assessment, and the petty SB 13 bill banning payroll deductions… and supporting good policies such as increased funding for our schools, good benefits for our teachers, and full day Pre-K instruction for our youngest children.

To this end, our PTC president Rev. Bobby Broyles is leading us in a statewide initiative to cover our Legislators in prayer. We want to assign each member a pastor as a prayer partner. If you are a pastor, we may be calling you to help with this vital ministry! [Emphasis added by me.]

Upcoming Events

REGISTER NOW! – Prayer 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.

Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium—We are privileged to be a part of the Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium under the direction of our good friend, Jennifer Esterline. All of the foundations, funders, and advocates in TEGAC are urging the Legislature to fund high quality full day pre-kindergarten programs that give our children the solid educational foundation they need to succeed. TEGAC’s annual meeting is this Tuesday and Wednesday in Austin.

The Pastors for Texas Children is working with pastors in other states and encouraging them to form similar organizations to support public schools and keep their faith communities free from government mandates and controls.

I must say I love the PTC idea of assigning a pastor as a prayer partner for every member of the legislature!