Texas Educators School Greg Abbott On Public Education

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The association that represents Texas teachers has strong words for Attorney General and gubernatorial hopeful Greg Abbott calling his budget plan “a slap in the face” to Texas school children, parents and the more than 600,000 Texans who work in the state's public school system. In a blistering statement they admonish him for pandering to his right-wing base instead of taking a strong leadership role arguing that he should, “put the needs of our children first, not bow to a political ideology intent on starving public education.”

Ironically, Public Education is not even listed under “Issues” on Abbott's campaign website for Governor, and of the 600 words in his recently pinned Op-Ed entitled “A working plan for Texas” not a single one is, “education.” If you are wondering how out of touch Abbott's campaign is so far, look no further than the 2013 Texas Lyceum Poll showing public education to be the most important state issue for Texas voters.

Abbott has already been criticized by Texas Monthly for having, “little knowledge of state government,” so it may come as no surprise that the first issue his website actually does list is to “End Obamacare,” which his site also incorrectly refers to as, “an Unconstitutional Tax.” Abbott has largely kept his campaign focused on red meat issues important to Republican primary voters, and avoided tough policy questions.

Wendy's first filibuster was on behalf of Public Education funding, see what one PTA mom had to say below the jump…“I go into the office, I sue the federal government and I go home,” Greg Abbott famously quipped, yet a closer look reveals an abysmal record in court, having clearly won only 5 of his 28 lawsuits against the federal government, and having recently lost another defending, an at least partially, unconstitutional law regarding abortion restrictions.

At least one PTA mom has noticed the lack of interest in Public Education espoused by Abbott. Kimberly Burkett, a self-described PTA Mom wrote a blog post that appeared in EducateForTexas.com questioning why, “the nearly 160-year old Texas tradition of public education doesn't appear to be one of the values he's trying to defend.”

But without a voting record to look at and with education missing as one of his key campaign issues, it's difficult to discern Greg Abbott's opinions on public education policy – or if he even has any…While I look forward to hearing more from candidate Abbott about his thoughts on public education, his lack of attention to education policy is disconcerting. – Kimberly Burkett PTA Mom

Burkett also pointed out that In September Wendy Davis was honored by Texas PTA as one of only ten recipients of their Legislative Honor Roll recognition for her “outstanding work to strengthen and protect Texas public schools,” and in October she was awarded the Silver Star Award by the Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education (TCASE) for her work on behalf of special education students and teachers.

TSTA President Rita Haecker said, “Instead of putting billions of tax dollars off limits for Texas schools, our next Governor should be working to find a reliable funding source to secure our children's future.” That is exactly what Wendy Davis did in her first and less famous filibuster in the Texas Senate in 2011 when she fought to bring and end, or at least loads of attention to, the $4 billion in public education cuts.

“People are hungry for leadership that's not afraid of political consequence,” Davis said in 2011 after filibustering the education cuts. Fast forward 2 years later and it seems her opponent may be the one tone-deaf to political consequences.  

You can follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.

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About Author

Joe Deshotel

Joe was born and raised in Beaumont, Tx, but live music and politics brought him to Austin. He has worked in and around government and elections for over a decade including for a member of US Congress, the Texas Legislature, the Mayor of Austin. He currently serves as Communications Director for the Travis County Democratic Party. He is most interested in transportation, energy and technology issues. He also likes Texas Hold'em and commuting on his electric skateboard. Follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.

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