DALLAS, Texas–There was hardly a seat in the house when the Texas gubernatorial candidates talked public education at the Texas Classroom Teachers Association (TCTA) convention in Fort Worth on June 26, 2014, FOX-4 DFW reported.
They spoke in split shifts: the Democrat, Sen. Wendy Davis, in the morning and Republican Greg Abbott, who is currently Texas Attorney General, in the afternoon. Both spoke to crowds of approximately 300 educators.
“Choice within the public school system” was Abbott’s clear message, built on his Educating Texans plan. The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram reported that before taking the stage, Abbott shared his first grade report card personalizing the moment by illustrating the importance of early childhood education.
He told the crowd, “We can and we will build the best education in America,” adding, “It starts with you, the teachers of Texas,” according to the Star-Telegram.
Earlier, Davis again pleaded the case for her full-day universal pre-Kindergarten that would be implemented for all Texas four-year-olds, a plan she neglected to mention would cost Texas taxpayers $750 million a year, which Breitbart Texas reported. She also touched upon less testing, higher teacher salaries and making college more accessible and affordable to Texas students, according to the Star-Telegram.
Earlier this year, Breitbart Texas also reported on Davis’ college affordability plan which called for the state to “step up and take responsibility” in defraying college tuition costs. “She was clear where the cash cow lived and who was paying for all these programs when she suggested ‘digging deep intoour own local taxpayer dollars to accomplish that,'” the article stated.
Abbott also talked early childhood education, “pre-literacy and pre-numeracy,” and teacher training, according to the Star-Telegram. Abbott told the audience of teachers that he wanted to move away from “mandates from Austin” so educators wouldn’t have to worry about red tape, according to the news article.
Breitbart Texas recently reported on Abbott’s stand on Fed Led Ed, rendering an anti-Common Core opinion. He has since echoed those values in a statement he issued last week. He wrote, in part, “I will ensure that neither CSCOPE nor Common have any viability in the state of Texas” as the next governor.
Both candidates would like to see less testing. The Star-Telegram noted that Abbott told reporters after his speech that he believed “there’s too much of a focus on teaching to the test and standardized tests.”
Earlier in the day, Davis addressed the TCTA with her signature broad brush strokes and open ended 21st Century jargon. Before going off on a one-sided rant over vouchers, she said she opposed school choice. Davis also indicated she was against vouchers because “they would bleed public dollars out of public education,” according to Fox-4.
Then she attacked Abbott’s plan of choice within the public school system as being “code for vouchers,” according to the Star-Telegram. Even though Davis’ claims were completely unfounded, Abbott pointed out “My plan doesn’t talk about private schools. My plan focuses solely on public schools,” the Ft. Worth Star Telegram reported.
Abbott said he supported public school choice because it gave parents a voice about where their children attend classes. He also said that choice in the public school system builds competition among schools, which can help improve them.
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.