Here in the Lone Star State of Texas, we have a governor that has been at odds with public educators for most of his extremely long tenure as governor. Rick Perry likes to “stick-it” to public educators, principals and especially superintendents for not supporting his concept of running a public school system on a shoestring budget and for expecting money to operate more state programs concocted in the state capital of Austin.
Just one year ago, Mr. Perry fought hard to preserve a $5 billion cut (he wanted a $10 billion cut) from public education to provide a platform for his failed run for the presidency by “balancing the state budget and not raising taxes.” This occurred at a time the public schools in Texas added over 87,000 additional students, laid off thousands of teachers and classroom aides, and implemented a more difficult testing and accountability system. Talk about the perfect storm.
His latest “stick-it” to public education is his appointment of a non-public educator to oversee the operation of the nation’s second largest public education system. The governor’s choice this time around for Commissioner of Education is former Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams, a Tea party darling and advocate of funneling public school money to private schools (see Here) through a voucher system.
A day after the announcement of Mr. Williams, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, fresh off his defeat in the Republican primary to replace US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, has decided to march lockstep with the governor and Williams in support of sending pubic school funds to private schools through vouchers (see Here).
It’s going to be bloody during the next legislative session. Plain and simple; school choice, vouchers or scholarships are synonymous and a money grab by non-educators who want access to Texas public education dollars to do a job they are not trained, qualified, or interested in doing well.
This issue is too important for supporters of public education to remain standing on the sidelines as placid spectators. In the world of politics, SILENT SUPPORT IS NO SUPPORT AT ALL! This is a job for all school board members, superintendents, principals, teachers, aides, school bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodians and any parent that received a public school education and has had their children attend public schools.
Those who value our schools must support public education by opposing public school vouchers and the politicians that advocate transferring public money to private profiteers.
Support public education by opposing public school vouchers!