Thursday, May 5, 2016

A Legislator Goes Back to School

Make Edcuation a Priority (MEaP) has announced plans to launch School Priority Month (SPM’16) in October of this year and every other year prior to the start of a legislative session.  Fortunately, there are some among those who represent us in Austin who are ahead of the curve and have taken the initiative to better understand the impact of public education on our state’s economy; one such individual is Rep. Diego Bernal (D-San Antonio).

A recent article published in the Rivard Report (click here to access the full story) documented Rep. Berna’s efforts and the reasons behind planned visits to the nearly 75 public and charter schools in his district, representing parts of three districts.  While his efforts are certainly on a grander scale, the intent of his visits is very much in line with what MEaP is striving to accomplish with SPM’16 and provides a great reference point to reinforce the importance of maintaining an adequate focus on our public education system.  To his efforts to listen to teachers, principals and superintendents, I would add one very important stakeholder group, the students, stakeholders whose voice is often ignored in the discussion about public education. 

Quoting Rep. Bernal from the article, “The reason I’m doing this is so that I can go to the district, be a good partner, get the  legislature on board, and get things done.”   This is a truly refreshing perspective on how to look at and address the challenges faced every day in our public schools.  This is not just about school finance or accountability.  It’s not about transparency and curriculum or any of the other myriad of challenges faced by students, teachers and administration in our public schools.  This is about addressing the needs of nearly 5.3 million Texas public education students in a way that gives them a chance to succeed and to excel in all that they pursue.

Rep. Bernal’s initiative and efforts are very much in line with the goals established by MEaP in creating the SPM’16 program.  Rather than focus on special interests, SPM’16 will focus on the classroom environment and the needs faced every day by our students.  We applaud the representative’s efforts to Make Education a Priority and look forward to working with him in the 85th Legislative Session.  

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