In the 3,413 days of Rick Perry's decade of failure as Texas' Governor, he has failed to adequately address Texas' high school dropout crisis.
Over the last several months, Bill White has campaigned across Texas introducing himself and talking about the need for Texas' elected officials to seriously fix the problem. During the course of campaigning, White takes dead aim at Rick Perry for ignoring the dropout crisis for nearly a decade. Since his remarks change from place to place, I wanted to point to the press release from April 6 which set the message clear and simple: “White challenges Perry: What's happening to Texas students?”
The economic effects are significant for all Texans. A person who does not complete high school can expect to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars less over the course of a lifetime than a person with a high school education. Each class of dropouts is estimated to cost the state and its economy billions of dollars.
“Our state's economic future depends on the workforce we're educating today, and we can't afford to let students slip through the cracks,” said Bill White.
Bill White is a problem-solver. As he raises the critical issue of dropouts across the state, he offers his own solutions — and can point to specific experiences where, as Mayor of Houston, he took direct action to take on the dropout crisis:
As mayor, White and his wife Andrea helped start Expectation Graduation, a program designed to cut high school dropout rates. Alongside hundreds of community volunteers, they went door to door to find young people who did not return to high school for the fall semester in an annual reach out to dropouts.
To date the efforts have brought back more than 8,800 high school students in the Houston area. Because of its success, the program has been repeated in communities across Texas including Dallas, Forth Worth, San Antonio, Corpus Christi and El Paso.
Combine his conversations about the State Board of Education — another education issue — with his ones about dropouts, and it's a major message push. Especially when you consider how the success of Texas' future is largely dependent on the future success of our children in school. It may not be as sexy to swoon over as, say, Rick Perry's $250,000 vanity plate or Rick Perry threatening to raise an army against America — but it's certainly more important and more relevant to the real issues facing Texans.
Fortunately, Bill White's message is being heard across Texas — even if the Austin echo chamber occassionally misses it. The following is an incomplete list of 19 press stories from every corner of the state talking about Bill White's campaign, his focus on education and dropouts, and how Rick Perry is struggling to come up with any real solutions to this major Texas issue:
If you see more stories on this across Texas, please leave a note in the comments or e-mail them to BOR: firstname.lastname@example.org
And the next time you encounter anyone trying to talk to you about Bill White's message, or how his campaign isn't doing enough to define himself, remind them about the list above — but more importantly, remind them about what each candidate is talking about. Bill White wants to focus on finding solutions to the challenges facing Texas so he can move our state forward. Rick Perry is meeting with Fox News personalities and campaigning for out-of-state Republicans in his quest to become a force in the 2012 Republican Presidential primary.
Only one of the candidates cares about Texas — Bill White. As he gets the message out, help him get the message out — learn how to get involved and stay involved.
Previously on BOR: