Democrat candidate for Governor of Texas Beto O’Rourke has got together with public school teachers around the state and pledged to increase public school funding if he wins the election.
O’Rourke has shared snippets of encounters he has had with public school teachers in Texas who are worried about Abbott’s proposed approach of defunding public schools and the implementation of vouchers.
He shares the teachers’ concerns. He shared that Texas is one of the states with the lowest incomes for teachers, around $7,500 less than the average income for educators in the country. This leads to the state having understaffed schools, a dire need for substitute teachers, and kids with no sense of education continuity,
The Democratic candidate also advocates for the removal of the controversial STAAR tests, a set of standardized tests that are obligatory in the state of Texas. After conversing with teachers of different backgrounds in various schools, he shares the opinion that these tests are detrimental to poor kids, and they do not measure the teachers’ or the students’ academic performance.
These tests are also a cause of extreme stress for the students and their educators since their score plays a huge part in the determination of the assessments the teachers get. Many professionals share O’Rourke’s opinion: these tests need to be removed and replaced with an efficient tool to measure teacher and student performance at schools.
This is a direct contrast to what Greg Abbott has been promoting lately: he proposed a new private education plan in which he would use state money to pay for families to send their kids to private schools. The plan is ambiguous, with no clear path, and complicated since the schools are not tied to the state and operate outside its purview.
“If we want to see better jobs in this state, and want Texans to actually work them, we’ve got to improve our pre-K through community college systems of education in the state of Texas,” O’Rourke said for The Dallas Morning News during his campaign in Dallas. “We’ve got to be the best in the country. And when we do that, not only will we be creating better jobs … but we’ll have a workforce that will actually be able to compete for them.”
If he wins the upcoming election for governor of the state, going against Republican and current Governor Greg Abbott, O’Rourke has promised he will increase public school funding and will get together with teachers to come up with more efficient ways to measure how well the students are learning.