In an open letter to supporters filled with lofty 21st Century education rhetoric, Sen. Wendy Davis is back at it again, continuing her jab-fest directed at Greg Abbott, GOP nominee for governor who is also the current Texas Attorney General. This time, Davis appealed to the people on behalf of Wendy-ED.
Yet, despite the Democratic challenger’s clouded claims, even the Dallas Morning News called her education strategy “a scary one for the state” last year.
“But do we really want an education strategy for Texas that is based upon more money and less accountability? That was where the nation – and Texas – was before the school reform movement got going in the 1980s. The education conversation focused on inputs (money; e.g.) much more than outputs (school results; e.g.). Do we really want to go back there?” the email stated.
Big Money and little accountability are key issues. Davis promises free, fully loaded full-day care for every four-year old in the state of Texas that comes at the taxpayer’s expense. Breitbart Texas reported that Davis’ pre-K plan would cost Texans $750 million a year.
In March, Davis told the Huffington Post that she wanted to “build initiatives” like Pre-K 4 SA, the baby universal pre-K from political pal, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro. The publication also dubbed Davis and Castro as the future of Texas. However, in April, one of the school districts enrolled in Castro’s signature plan, dumped it.
Pre-K 4 SA is pitched as free but that’s only if a family qualifies and it is funded on the taxpayer’s dime. Ten percent of kids who attend have parents who double pay–first via taxes and secondly through tuition. This is the Davis blueprint.
In her email, “A Clear Choice in Education,” Davis extolled the virtues of pre-K and the “the workforce demands of our 21st Century economy.” However, a Health and Human Services 2013 finding disproved that theory. Breitbart News reported “students who participate in the $8 billion Head Start program actually fare worse, in some ways, than students who do not…The study also found that positive effects of the program are not sustained into elementary school.”
Perhaps, the letter’s most illusory 21st Century education logic came on the subject of college and career readiness where Davis declared: “This time is now for new, innovative leadership acting with urgency and purpose to ensure that our kids can hold their own – not only with children in New York and California but with those in China and India.”
Interesting choices. State leadership in California and New York embraced Fed Led Ed. In fact, California began Common Core implementation in 2010. It is a governing partner in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), makers of the Common Core high-stakes test.
2014 marked the practice year for Common Core-aligned assessments, prompting parents to refuse the high-stakes testing for their children, and birthing a nationwide opt-out movement.
New Yorkers have made a loud stink against Common Core but Governor Andrew Cuomo has shown little signs of backing down on its implementation.
Education reformers like Davis, the people who support Fed Led Ed, cite places like China and India. Education reformers use expressions like 21st Century learning and 21st Century workforce. Yet, Davis told the Huffington Post that she was against Common Core.
However, Davis is the darling of the Texas teachers unions, who have collectively doled out over $100,000 to her in campaign contributions. The largest of those teachers unions is the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and they support the Common Core. Its Lone Star’s affiliate Texas AFT has forked over $26,456.88 to Davis campaigns since 2008, according to the Texas Ethics Commission who also shows campaign contributions to Davis from ACT for Texas Classroom Teachers Association for $13,000; plus a generous $63,320.34 from the Texas State Teachers Association, since 2010.
Davis claims her loyalties are with the pre-K to 12 crowd but actions taken during the 81st legislative session in 2009 indicate otherwise. She supported Floor Amendment 8. This would have undermined SB 3, a bill that was all about educational accountability.
Floor Amendment 8 protected failing schools, not the students, because it limited the Commissioner of Education’s ability to intervene or sanction failing campuses, even if other schools in the district met minimal standards of performance.
The amendment came from San Antonio senator Leticia Van de Putte, now the 2014 Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor. Van de Putte’s amendment failed. Recently, Davis and Van de Putte joined forces in Austin with Mayor Castro, hurling falsehoods at Greg Abbott over his Educating Texas preK-3 plan.
Texans for Greg Abbott Communications Director Matt Hirsch commented on Davis’ record of supporting teachers unions over Texas students and families in a written statement.
“When one cross-references Sen. Davis’ education proposals and voting record in the state senate with her donor list, it’s easy to see why she opts to protect failing schools over Texas students – she has received more campaign contributions from teachers unions than the past three Democrat gubernatorial candidates combined. Texas children and their families deserve a governor that will advocate for them – not protect special interests,” Hirsch said.
In addition to the teachers unions, the political company Davis is telling. “The Progressive’s” April cover story touted the Davis for Governor campaign as getting “a boost from a team of former Obama campaign veterans, like Jeremy Bird. He is the founder of Battleground Texas. His goal is to transform Texas…” they wrote.
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom