Tuesday, June 2, 2015

An Open Letter to Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock

Dear Rep. Aycock,

It is with great sadness that I heard the news yesterday that you do not intend to run for another term.  This truly is an announcement that will have far reaching potential implications over the next couple of years.  Thank you for your continued support of the 5.2 million public education students in the State of Texas.

As I reflect on the impact of your announcement, several things come to mind.  First and foremost is how you always kept the needs of all students as a top priority in your discussions.  Students, parents, educators and others who support public education truly appreciate your efforts in making certain that Texas has a sound public education system.  Your quote about the importance of focusing on good policy, not party extremes, is truly a reflection of your commitment to service. 

I think back fondly on a couple of meetings in your office.  During the 83rd Legislative Session, my fellow trustee Bobby J Rigues (Aledo ISD) and I were privileged to present at three Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) training sessions on the impact of House Bill 5, major legislation sponsored by you.  You were gracious enough to meet with us to provide the backdrop that led to this important legislation, focusing on the topics of curriculum, assessment, and accountability, as well as community and student engagement.  We walked away with a clearer understanding of the why behind the what.

Even more impactful to me personally was a meeting we had with you earlier this year as Bobby and I developed another TASB presentation to discuss the role and importance of governance in how trustees oversee district operations.  After a brief Q&A video session, your invitation to sit and talk for an additional 75 minutes was invaluable in understanding your views on public education.  I'm deeply honored to have had that opportunity to talk.

Your sponsorship of HB 1759 was an effort that was truly appreciated by advocates of public education.  Rather than wait for the courts to decide the public school funding issue, you made a sincere effort to address concerns addressed and now pending before the Supreme Court.  More importantly, your actions started the dialog and brought renewed hope among those of us in public education. 

Suffice it to say that public education will lose one of its greatest champions with your retirement.  Thank you, Chairman Aycock; I wish you the very best.  All of us who support public education are deeply indebted to you! 

Warmest regards,
Craig Rothmeier

Advocacy Advisor - Make Education a Priority

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