The number one priority for the future of Texas

Posted in Around The State, Bad Government Republicans, Education, Public Schools, The Lege at 10:51 am by wcnews

Suffice it to say, we have issues in Texas regarding public education. Especially on the funding and financial equity sides of it, (not even mentioning the dropout rate). But recently teachers and legislators asked for a special session to address the issues, now! And, as expected, Gov. Rick Perry said no.

But just to show that there not completely asleep on this issue yesterday, Lt. Gov./US Senate candidate David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus decided to finally appoint members of the joint interim committee to study the public school finance system. Via Texas Politics, Lawmakers, Texans focus on school funding.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, announced the creation of a joint interim committee to study the public school finance system, which likely will be meeting later this year as a state district court hears another school finance lawsuit.

The committee, created through Senate Bill 1 last summer, will study the state’s public school finance system and make recommendations to the 83rd Legislature, which will meet starting in January.

In a statement, Dewhurst said: “The future of Texas is being forged in our classrooms every day. That is why the Texas Legislature remains dedicated to continuing our investment in public education, directing more resources to the classroom and improving the quality of learning for every student in every school and every district across our state.”

Straus said: “Nothing will make a greater difference in the future of our state than the willingness of all Texans to put education first and truly make it our top priority in Texas, and I’m pleased to appoint members to this Select Committee to do so.”

Critics, however, contend that lawmakers have not made public education a priority. The GOP-controlled Legislature last year cut $5.4 billion from public education, which public schools would have gotten under existing law.

A Save Texas Schools rally featuring parents, teachers and students is scheduled March 24 at the Capitol.

“Statewide we’ve seen larger class sizes, lack of instructional materials, and loss of programs to help struggling students succeed,” said Linda Bridges, Texas AFT president. “Parents, students and teachers on March 24 will again send a loud message that we plan to fight for our kids and that we can do better for them and our state’s future. Last year we gathered by the thousands to protest these cuts but were rebuffed by some politicians who claimed that schools would do just fine, that the planned cuts would be absorbed outside the classroom. That story line didn’t fool us then, and it doesn’t wash now as we look at what thousands of school employees and hundreds of superintendents have told us in surveys.”

About 92 percent of respondents in a recent Texas AFT survey noted layoffs in their district, with a large percentage reporting loss of teachers (85 percent) and teacher assistants (79 percent). A subsequent survey of 241 superintendents released in January reported actual numbers of layoffs, indicating the loss of more than 30,000 teachers and other school employees statewide by conservative estimate.

“This isn’t just about cutting band trips or football awards banquets,” Bridges said. “Laying off teachers means cramming more kids into each class and the loss of the individualized attention our diverse population of students requires. Eliminating pre-K grants means that kids don’t get the foundation in learning that they desperately need. Wiping out tutorials and services like the Student Success Initiative means more kids won’t meet increasingly rigorous achievement standards, or will simply drop out altogether.”

Finally. At least there trying to make it look like they’re doing something. If you want to do something join the fight for public education, come to Austin at the end of March.

Save Texas Schools rally information.

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