Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

Columns

May 15, 2014

Favoring teachers' unions over students

(Continued)

Eventually she figured out the cost. Davis wants to spend $750 million every year on universal pre-K. Her opponent in the gubernatorial race, Attorney General Greg Abbott, instead wants a “gold plan” for high-risk children that would need to prove it is successful before it is expanded, and would cost $188 million over two years, about one-fifth of Davis’ proposal.

The Davis campaign spent weeks hyperventilating over a footnote in Abbott’s lengthy proposal.

Davis incredulously charged that Abbott wanted to force 4-year-olds to undergo standardized tests, which PolitiFact ruled as “Mostly False.”

This followed Davis claiming Abbott said expanding pre-K “would be a waste,” which PolitiFact also ruled as “Mostly False,” since Abbott said that “it would be a waste to offer pre-K to more students - without addressing quality.”

The Texas public education system is improving.

The Texas Education Agency announced that the class of 2012 had the highest graduation rate in state history — 87.9 percent. This included all-time highs among white students (93 percent), Hispanic students (84.3 percent) and African-American students (83.5 percent).

So Davis’ repeated claims that education has been gutted in Texas simply do not wash.

Yes, education funds were cut in 2011 when we faced a budget shortfall. Most of those cuts were replaced in 2013. The Legislature also passed important bills to reduce testing and expand charter schools.

In 2015, the Texas Legislature needs to move to improve choice in education by introducing competition into the market. This will foster innovation and help prevent children from being trapped in failing schools.

Abbott understands this and wants accountability, choice and high performance in education. Davis opposes school choice, believing that funds alone will solve every problem in education, much to the delight of the teachers unions.

Davis wants to put the teachers unions in charge, which results in trapping children in the status quo.

Abbott wants to empower parents, school boards and local educators to make decisions and improve our schools.

Matt Mackowiak is an Austin- and Washington-based Republican consultant and president of Potomac Strategy Group, LLC. He has been an adviser to two U.S. senators and a governor, and has advised federal and state political campaigns across the country.

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

A. I support the ordinance
B. I do not support the ordinance
C. Not sure
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