After the Legislature slashed $5.4 billion from public schools last year, a reasonable person might have thought, “Well, at least it can’t get any worse.”

Guess what? Apparently, it can.

Republicans in Austin, including Governor Perry and Lt. Governor Dewhurst, have declared that “school choice” is a top priority for them next session. Let’s be clear what so-called school choice is: it’s stealing precious tax dollars from cash-starved public schools and diverting them to private schools, which get to pick and choose which students they educate.

Public dollars should be for public schools. Period.

It’s hard to fathom why Republican leaders think vouchers are a good idea, especially in the aftermath of the devastating budget cuts in the last session. Saturday, I participated in Arlington ISD’s Operation Graduation for the third year in a row. I spent the morning with two AISD teachers and one counselor. I asked them what the Legislature’s top education priority should be next session. Unanimously, it was more funding – funding so they can hire more teachers and reduce class size. One of the teachers taught junior high – she has about 35 kids in her classes. The other taught sixth grade; she has about 32 students.

That’s simply unacceptable. And we’re not going to be able to do much about it if we don’t reverse the budget cuts, get more teachers into the classrooms and keep up with our state’s continued enrollment growth. And we won’t accomplish that by taking money out of public schools to fund private school vouchers.

As I have said throughout the last 14 months of this campaign, I am running for the Legislature to make our public schools a priority in our state budget. That includes standing up against private school vouchers, and that’s exactly what I will do in Austin.

Texas-OU Kickoff/Birthday Event Coming Up!

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Our big fundraiser to kick off Texas/OU weekend and yes, mark my 40th birthday, is coming up on October 11th. If you haven’t yet, please take a minute to contribute and join our host committee. It will be a fun evening with good friends, and I hope you can be there. Your support will help us get out the vote in this critical election. Hope to see you on October 11th!