Education has become a major issue in the Texas governor’s race, with six months to go.
The differing approaches unveiled by the two major candidates for governor tell us a lot.
An examination of Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis’ education reform proposal shows the plan clearly refuses to increase accountability and competition in the public education system, opting instead for the tired, liberal trope of “more funding.”
Davis’ plan must have made the teachers unions hearts flutter. Indeed you could call it the best plan the teachers unions could buy.
Davis, of Fort Worth, has accepted more than $100,000 from teachers unions in her short political career (more than $26,000 from Texas AFT, more than $63,000 from the Texas State Teachers Association and more than $13,000 from ACT for Texas Classroom Teachers Association).
All reasonable Texans want to see public education in Texas succeed. But funding levels alone are not a sufficient metric.
The District of Columbia school system spends more per pupil than any jurisdiction and has terrible achievement results.
Instead, the metric should be, is our public education system improving, does it offer choices to parents and is it accountable?
Davis doesn’t even attempt to create an education reform plan that addresses those concerns.
In 2009, Davis supported legislation (SB 3, floor amendment 8) that limited the ability of the Texas education commissioner to intervene or sanction failing campuses if other campuses in the district meet “minimal standards of performance.”
Who could possibly be against closing failing schools? Teachers unions — and if they are against it, then so is Wendy Davis.
Davis, in running for governor, is pushing “universal pre-K,” the kind of focus-group-tested phrase that parents generally like.
Does the cost matter? Will it work? What are the accountability measures?
These are inconvenient questions.
When she released her plan, The Dallas Morning News’ Gromer Jeffers reported that Davis “did not say how much her proposals would cost or how she would pay for them.”