One of the most important responsibilities we all have is to ensure that our children receive the best possible quality education, because the future of Texas and America is dependent upon it. That is why I and my staff have been, and will continue to be, strong supporters of our classroom teachers and the continuous improvement of quality education in the classroom for all students.
We, (my office staff and I) went into the 85th Legislative Session dedicated to finding and supporting ways to decrease mandates on local schools, improve local control, overhaul the accountability system, simplify the funding formula, and make sure that all children have the opportunity to receive the same high quality of education.
What makes moving towards each of the goals exceptionally difficult is the divergence of opinion among all the stakeholders, including educators and administrators, as to how to achieve each one. That is why we will continue to work with all groups, listening carefully to each one, and take into consideration all suggestions and opinions. And, then, when I vote on an issue, it will be in support of the classroom teachers and the academic outcome for the student that determines my vote, yea or nay. We must never forget that everything we do in the name of education, student academic outcome and the classroom teachers must be the most important considerations in Austin and the school districts.
We will continue to work to identify and support policies at the state level which will encourage and allow local school districts to develop policies and procedures that will advance the quality of education in the classroom so that Texas moves to the top and is recognized as number one in the nation in K – 12 education.
There are competing interests involved in the education arena, each with their own special interests. All of those interests have to be taken into consideration when voting on legislation. Local school district administrators, school board members, (urban and rural), charter schools, teachers, ESCs, TASA, TASB, TASBO, TEA and a multitude of vendors, who siphon billions of dollars away from the classroom, have separate and often competing interests. Teachers and students should always be the center of the discussion in education. Unfortunately that is not always the case.
There is a big difference between providing for the needs necessary to achieve a quality education for our children and meeting the wants of all of the special interest groups who seek only to divert education funds away from the teachers in the classrooms. We are committed to working this interim on reforming school finance and reducing the cost of education so that funding can be used where it is most efficient and effective.
We are committed to continuing to supporting policies which ensure that students who attend a school in Texas achieve a strong ability to read, write, know the true history of our state and nation, understand the free market system, have an appropriate mastery of mathematics, and are prepared to pursue their future, as they choose, upon graduation.
We welcome inputs from anyone who has an interest in any of the issues related to improving the quality of education, supporting classroom teachers and reducing unfunded and unnecessary mandates. We may be reached by phone at 512.463.0102 or by email at [email protected].