First of all, I have voted ... and I hope that you have either voted or have plans to do so over the next few days. It was the first time that I ever took a “cheat sheet” into the voting booth. I chose not to even cast a vote in some of the races but several of these were a no brainer starting with the Lt. Governor race where I was privileged to cast a vote for Scott Milder.
Voting is getting a lot of attention in the press and we’re getting barraged with campaign ads, both print and TV/radio. I have watched with interest (and disgust) the ads by the LG in which he tries to portray himself as a friend of teachers and public education. Sadly, without understanding the hollow nature of his promises, most will see him as someone that they can support. Having a big war chest doesn’t hurt as evidenced by the full page ad in today’s Dallas Morning News touting his support from the Texas business community.
One other area that drew my attention related to the propositions on the Republican primary ballot, specifically Proposition 5 relating to vouchers (by any name). If you haven’t seen it, it reads, “Texas families should be empowered to choose from public, private, charter, or homeschool options for their children’s education, using tax credits or exemptions without government constraints or intrusion.” Kind of like motherhood and apple pie for many who will vote.
What is truly striking is the reference to “without government constraints or intrusion” to which I would add “or accountability”. I wonder how many people who support this proposition understand that forms of school choice other than our public schools do not face the same rigor and accountability as our public schools. Would they be happy with the Lt. Governor’s statement that accountability lies with the parents and not the state? But, of course, that would never be part of any public statement he would make.
There are other races that will have a direct impact on how public education is viewed in the 86th Legislative session when it convenes early in 2019. And while the outcomes of some of these will not favorable to “our side”, one positive that has come out of this is that public education is a key part of the conversation now. With efforts like Texas Educators Vote and the efforts of Texans for Public Education to define where incumbents and candidates stand on public education, the grassroots public education advocacy movement has left the station. And that can only be good news for the more than 5.4 million Texas public education students who are asking us to make education a priority.
Have you voted?