Day: <span>September 26, 2013</span>

What does “education reform” mean to Greg Abbott?


When Attorney General Greg Abbott launched his campaign for the Republican nomination for governor, he went around the state promising to usher in a “new era of education reform.”

Uh-oh. If Abbott’s definition of “education reform” is the same as most of the Republican leadership in this state, it will mean more support for unproven privatization schemes and corporate takeover of local neighborhood schools. That means spending state tax dollars on school vouchers and cookie-cutter, corporate charters, while slashing tax dollars from already under-funded, traditional public schools, where the vast majority of Texas children will continue to be educated.

Right now, we can only guess – although I think the above is a pretty educated guess – because Abbott so far hasn’t spelled out what he means. He has spoken against “teaching to the test” – which the Legislature already dealt with this year — and said Texas needs to prepare more children for college or careers and make college more affordable.

But mostly the “education reform” remark has been a footnote in a campaign stump speech heavy on red-meat, right-wing rhetoric that bashes Obamacare and the federal government, promotes religious ideology and suggests that failure to promote Abbott to governor could mean the imminent collapse of the U.S. Constitution.

I checked Abbott’s campaign website today, and if there was anything on it fleshing out his education priorities, I couldn’t find it. But I did find the 10 issues that he singles out, and not one has anything to do with improving the public education system.

The first is ending Obamacare, which would ensure Texas of remaining the national leader in residents without health care. The second is protecting the Second Amendment, which doesn’t need protecting, unlike school children in harm’s way from an over-supply of guns in the wrong hands. And, the third is defense of “traditional values,” like displaying the Ten Commandments on the state Capitol grounds.

Also on the list is Abbott’s defense of the voter ID law, a thinly veiled political attempt to disenfranchise minority and elderly voters who are not likely to support the attorney general’s gubernatorial bid.

But I guess we will have to wait a little longer for that “education reform” platform to be spelled out.