A story this morning in the Corpus Christi Caller had this ominous-sounding lead: “Republican State Rep. Connie Scott wants to finish what she started in 2010.” It is ominous because if Scott gets to finish what she started, our public schools, educators and students will be in for more trouble.
Scott unseated former State Rep. Abel Herrero, an effective advocate for public education, two years ago. Then she joined the governor and the short-sighted legislative majority in slashing $5.4 billion from public school budgets, including, according to the Texas Education Agency (TEA), an estimated $29 million from the Nueces County school districts that she purported to represent.
Statewide, 25,000 school employees – including almost 11,000 teachers – lost jobs, and thousands of students were crammed into overcrowded classrooms. Teacher losses in Nueces County were about 200, according to TEA. Some Texas districts even started charging for bus rides, and others were forced to close neighborhood schools.
Now, in a pre-election overture, Scott is claiming that she is “committed to improving public education.”
But, folks, someone who is truly committed to improving public education doesn’t vote, as Scott did, to slash $5.4 billion from the public schools while leaving several billion dollars of taxpayer money sitting, unspent, in the Rainy Day Fund. The main thing Scott is committed to is catering to the tea party-types who would privatize public education for the wealthy and put everyone else’s children into nineteenth century, one-room schoolhouses.
Abel Herrero is running again for his old House seat in District 34. TSTA is supporting him against Scott because Herrero actually is committed to improving public education. He, unlike Scott, has the record to prove it.