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      Amarillo educators take trip to Austin for legislative session

      As the legislative session continues in Austin, local teachers went to the front lines to fight for education reform.

      Amarillo representatives from the Texas Classroom Teachers Association presented alternatives and personal accounts to legislators for changes in educational policies.

      The most important topics for educators were public school funding and state-wide testing.

      "We are sort of over the top on testing, and we spend so many days where we are focusing on testing or taking tests, that it's becoming too much," says TCTA Representative Melessa Denny

      "Senate bill 225 is the one that dealt with the testing that has test numbers go from 15 to 5 required for graduation. I got that from educators," Texas Senator Kel Seliger.

      Denny is confident that changes to high stakes testing for students looking to advance to the next grade, or graduate high school, will be made. "The tests aren't necessarily going to go away, just some of the high stakes parts of those tests I think will go away at the end of the legislative session."

      School funding was also a hot topic during the session, after a 5.4 billion dollar cut to public school funding in the last legislative session.

      TCTA brought back some good news for public schools, says Denny. "We know that enrollment growth will be funded and hopefully they'll be able to restore some of the money that was lost in the last session, or find ways that we can support public education."

      During their time in Austin, TCTA representatives also attended meetings on classroom management and educational technology for classroom application.

      The Texas Classroom Teachers Association is the leading teacher association in Texas. For more information, go to