Our current education system must change. The Texas Constitution mandates a free and equal education for all its children, and Texans insist on access to a commendable education wherever our children live. Our current governor is impeding the education of our youth by refusing to properly fund Texas education. Under my leadership, the following points outline how we will forge our struggling system into a first-rate education system the children of Texas deserve.
The state should not be making laws that force the financial hardship of upholding them unto the local districts. The state passes mandates and expects local school districts to pay for them while it also deprives schools of necessary financial aid.
We must close loopholes that are giving 5-6 billion dollars per year in tax revenue to large corporations not paying their fair share of property taxes. The tax burden then falls on working-class Texans and small companies to make up the deficit. By the closing of these loopholes, our education system would be funded. We will continue to attract corporations and retain large corporations who are already here by providing a world-class education system and training a skilled workforce needed in today’s economy.
The current STAAR tests are not improving our children’s learning. Teachers should be allowed to instruct critical thinking and practical knowledge skills to our children. "No Child Left Behind" demands we test our kids, but Texas has the power to decide the process. We will still use tests to mark a student's progress; however, we will use it as a tool to enhance the educational experience of the child and not to punish the student or educator.
Schools must be a harbor of safety for all students. A parent should never have to fear the loss of an education for their child with a learning disability, special needs, or bullying and harassment. Proper funding will ensure that Texas students with learning disabilities like dyslexia, Down's Syndrome, and those in need of ESL will be supported at the earliest age possible. It will also ensure we provide a safe environment conducive to a world-class education.
Employed educators and retired educators should make a livable income. As it stands, teachers are compelled to purchase their own materials with their own money to do their job. To my knowledge, this is the only workforce with this kind of hardship. This practice must end. The state should fund the resources teachers need so they can successfully fulfill their duties. The health insurance of both working and retired educators must be overhauled to provide affordable insurance with appropriate policies that fit their needs.
The Voucher System must be abandoned. The deception of vouchers steal money away from publicly funded and regulated schools to proffer private, unregulated ones. Private schools ought to be privately funded and public money should only be funding the Texas public education system.
All charter schools must maintain or exceed the same goal and obligations and meet the high standards we require of our public school system or risk being shut down. Although charter schools have had some successes, their graduation rates remain less than our public schools. The graduation rate of our public schools is up to 30% higher than charter schools while noting that the two are not evaluated in the same manner.
The Robin Hood Program must come to an end. Property tax collected within a district should stay within that district. Any district who has a shortfall due to low property tax revenue should be elevated to the highest standards at the expense of the state, not other districts.
I believe education is the bedrock of our society. As your next governor, I will work day and night to fix this damaged foundation and place education reform at the forefront of my agenda.
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