Today Greg Abbott unveiled another portion of his education plan at a school in Spring Branch I.S.D. — a district that is currently suing the state over funding cuts that Abbott is defending as Texas' Attorney General.
Awkward? It should be.
“Perhaps the problem is that Greg Abbott is having trouble locating a school district in the entire state of Texas that's not currently fighting him in a courtroom lawsuit,” said Zac Petkanas the Communications Director for Wendy Davis.
Abbott has been on the defense after a weeks-long rocky rollout of his education plan, and today said he supported more “local control,” yet his plan for Pre K called for more state assessment and mandates.
See what teachers' representatives are saying about Abbott's plan below the jump…Abbott said he would first want to test Pre K students to ensure any expansion would not be a “waste,” and would propose giving $1,500 to half day Pre K programs that met a “Gold Standard.”
Texas is currently ranked 46th in per pupil funding which equates to about $2,600 below the national average. So, Abbott proposing $1,500 per 4 year old that meets certain additional state mandates barely begins to close the gap Texas students already face between themselves and other American children.
“Trying to get a great education in Greg Abbott's Texas will be like buying a lottery ticket. You win if you're one of the few who get pre-K or get placed in a special program,” said Texas State Teachers Association President Rita Haecker.
“Providing a great education for a growing student population requires a real investment. Instead, Abbott continues to defend an indefensible school funding system, including $5.4 billion in budget cuts imposed three years ago,” Haecker added. “The bottom line is this: It doesn't cost to educate a child. It pays.”
Communications Director for the Texas Democratic Party Manny Garcia released this statement:
“Texans love their neighborhood schools, so it's clear why Attorney General Greg Abbott would want one in the background at his press conference. But Texans can sniff a raw deal a mile away and Abbott's anti-education record stinks. The faculty and parents of Spring Branch ISD know that Abbott fights to keep resources away from their children. They know he is battling their school district in court and the rollout of another flawed education plan is not going to change that. Mr. Abbott, a school may be great for a photo op, but surely even you should know more is required to be a true advocate for public education. ”
Wendy Davis fought against the $5.4 billion in cuts to public education when she filibustered in 2011, she fought to have the funding restored in 2013, she has called on the Attorney General to settle the lawsuit, and now she continues to call for expanding educational opportunities. Her Opponent Greg Abbott continues to defend those same cuts while calling for pilot programs that would benefit only a select few of Texas' 5 million school children.
Texans need a Governor who recognizes that our public schools are more than just a backdrop for political photo opps — they are the incubators of our state's future.
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