Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Texas, Nevada and vouchers (by any other name)

In my role as a public education advocate and president of Make Education a Priority, I am committed to doing what I can to ensure that the impact of actions by our elected officials is clearly understood.  With public education accounting for the second highest percentage of the Texas budget, there will always be considerable discussion about a multitude of topics relating to how the almost 5.3 million students in the State of Texas are educated, including curriculum, funding, and accountability. 

I am also committed to focusing on the positives of education across the state, while noting how the decisions made in Austin may have an adverse impact on students.  But I am not alone.  On an increasingly frequent basis, I find trustees more engaged with their legislators, even during the interim.  I see superintendents and other district leaders more engaged in the legislative process, whether through editorials, contacts with legislators, or testifying at public hearings in Austin.  And for the students across the state, this will have a positive impact.

One such superintendent advocate is Dr. Jodi Duron, Superintendent of Elgin ISD.   I had the privilege of speaking with Dr. Duron at a press conference a couple of years ago and appreciated here insightful comments on the requirements and future of public education.  Specific to the discussion of “Texas, Nevada and vouchers”, Dr. Duron recently published a letter to her local newspaper in which she expressed concerns about comments made by the Lt. Governor relating to vouchers (under any name) and a reference to adopting actions taken by the State of Nevada.  Dr. Duron’s editorial can be found by clicking here.

I’ve previously expressed my views that moving dollars from public education fails to recognize the constitutionally mandated requirement that the Texas Legislature adequately fund public education.  I’ve also expressed my view that it is important that we focus on providing the best quality education that we can for the more than 5.2 million public education students in Texas.  A diversion of public dollars for private purposes goes against both of these notions. 

In a recent conversation with Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, he expressed that we need to look not at the discussion of public v private, or the notion of vouchers (under whatever name is defined) but at the need to provide the best education for our students.  I would hope that, instead of focusing on the mechanism and where dollars are allocated, we renew our focus on the students and how to best meet their needs.  It is up to all of us to Make Education a Priority.

No comments:

Post a Comment