In case you haven’t heard by now, Dallas ISD has reinstated the teacher it outrageously suspended last week for daring to send an email to a school board member, taking issue with a board decision to lengthen teachers’ work days without extra pay. Joseph Drake (see my previous blog post) was to have returned to his fourth grade classroom today.
The suspension was without any legal justification, and following an outraged public outcry, the school district relented. District officials also owe Drake a public apology, although I am not sure if that has – or will – happen. In any event, Drake is back where he wants to be, teaching children.
Instead of harassing teachers at the behest of thinskinned school board members, Dallas school administrators can do something much more productive about their budgetary problems. They can join TSTA’s campaign, launched today, and sign an online petition, urging Gov. Rick Perry to call the Legislature into special session now to spend $2.5 billion from the Rainy Day Fund.
That would restore the budget cuts the legislative majority made to the public education budget for the 20122013 school year and help stop the bleeding in public schools in Dallas and throughout Texas. In addition to lengthening the teachers’ oncampus work days (which doesn’t count time teachers spend on school work at home), the Dallas school board also voted to close 11 neighborhood schools, despite a loud public protest.
Those Dallas schools could be saved and classrooms throughout the state spared from further cuts if the governor and the Legislature were to do the right thing. The Rainy Day Fund is taxpayers’ money, intended for spending on public emergencies, not to be hoarded for political reasons, as the governor insisted last year while he and lawmakers were slashing the public education budget. Besides, those political reasons – a Perry presidential race – are history.
With a projected balance of $7.3 billion by the end of the current budget period, the Rainy Day Fund has enough money to stop the education cuts and cover other emergency state needs. And, the actual balance may be quite higher as the economy continues improving.
TSTA President Rita Haecker, joined by State Representative Donna Howard of Austin, launched the special session petition drive at a Capitol news conference this morning.
“It’s time for the governor to cut the politics and stop cutting away at our children, their education and our state’s future,” Haecker said. “He can call a special session, stop the cuts and do what’s right for Texas.”
You can sign the petition by clicking on this link: