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EDUCATION 2018-02-10T21:24:44+00:00

Project Description

CREATING OPEN MINDS

Both of my parents were teachers in the public schools and members of their available unions. I grew up hearing of the challenges and rewards of the teaching profession. My four children all attended public schools through high school. Overwhelmingly the public schools do a good job despite the underfunding and unproductive, top-down edicts from the legislature. We need to better support our teachers in the pubic schools. The relentless Republican Party attack on public schools needs to be understood within the context of their broader attack on all public services.

The only thing more expensive than quality education is a poor education. We need to provide every young person with an education that prepares them for citizenship while also helping them launch into self-supporting jobs. For young people whose best path is through college we need to provide a track that does not leave them burdened with debt. It is unconscionable that over a generation we have gone from a country that offered affordable access to both vocational education, and college, to a country that chooses to burden young people with debt as the price of starting a trade or career. Two decades of Republican Party mis-rule leave us with an underfunded system and with overburdensome rules. These are policy choices and they can be reversed.

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My view is that candidates owe you specifics. The following points outline my key positions:

  • Funding – Education is underfunded in TX. We must increase teacher pay and respect teaching as a career. (Please note that the reason your school property taxes go up is due to the outrageous exemptions that Republicans have pushed through the legislature that allow large property owners special tax free-rides. The key to funding education properly in TX is to eliminate these absurd and economically unjustified special tax privileges.)
  • Vouchers – We have run the experiment and it shows no real benefit. It does create a funding loss to struggling public schools. It also creates a class of corporate operatives with profit motives rather than education motives, and these corporations also become political operatives. Tax dollars should remain in the public schools.
  • Vocational Training – We are thankfully returning to the practical understanding that not every young person should be pushed into an academic track. We need tradesmen, technicians, other trained specialists. We need to build on the successes already emerging in high schools and community colleges. Better funding for these programs is crucial.
  • Higher Education – Within the span of a generation college has become unaffordable for most Americans. Without change we will soon be a country in which access to higher education will be only for the wealthy with little consideration for merit or ability. We need a return to the historic perspective embodied in the Morrill Act, which commits the states to fund higher education at levels that make it available to all qualifying young people.

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school. It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education. ”

Albert Einstein

While the points outlined here represent my broad views regarding our current situation, I also recognize that the field of education is changing rapidly. We have new means of delivery such as through remote learning. Education research points to better methods of organizing classrooms such as group-based activities, or even breaking out of the classroom setting altogether.

I respect the teaching profession and am open to persuasion regarding better educational practices so long as they are rooted in solid research.

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March 6, 2018
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