Here, in one of their leader’s own words, is why Dan Patrick’s anti-public education allies are trying to keep educators from voting. The following quote, published over the weekend in the Texas Tribune, is from Tom Fabry, treasurer of the Frisco Tea Party and a collaborator in Empower Texans’ voter suppression campaign against teachers and other public school employees.
“Voting in mass, they (educators) would influence statewide office and state legislative races,” Fabry wrote for Empower Texans. “Locally, the combined voter block would have the mass to virtually guarantee approval of tax ratification elections and bond propositions. All it takes is registration, indoctrination and mobilization. And it’s all being done under the guise of ‘civic responsibility.’”
There are 650,000 or more public school employees in Texas, and the thought of most of those educators voting in the best interests of their students and their professions obvously scares the heck out of Fabry and his accomplices, who have been accustomed to large numbers of educators staying home on Election Day.
In Fabry’s view, which is shared by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, only people who would shrink government and privatize public schools should be encouraged to vote, thus assuring the election of state officials who will continue to cut education funding and promote standardized testing and school privatization. And they shudder at the thought of educators going out and voting for the local tax ratification and bond elections that have become increasingly necessary to compensate for the state’s neglect.
Educators don’t need indoctrination. They already know how bad Gov. Abbott, Dan Patrick and their allies are treating public schools and their students. But many educators may need mobilization, beginning with reminders of how important elections are to education and not to be intimidated by those who fear them.
There is no guise about civic responsibility, folks. Everyone has a civic responsibility to vote, and in the case of educators, that civic responsibility hits especially close to home because, like it or not, public schools operate in the political arena. Whether you vote and who you vote for will determine the future of public education and how well prepared millions of Texas school kids will be for their own futures.
Fabry, incidentally, says he is a voter registrar. If so, he needs to learn that his own civic responsibility is to encourage voting, not try to suppress it.
Blow the whistle on obstacles like Fabry and his Empower Texans cohorts and make their fears come true. Vote Education First!