Democratic and Republican primary voters have given Texans an easy choice in next fall’s gubernatorial election. For teachers and other taxpayers who care about the public schools – and other public services, for that matter – the decision will be a nobrainer.
Democratic nominee Bill White, former successful mayor of Houston and son of public school teachers in San Antonio, has a proven record of making government work. He is committed to strengthening the public education system, which is – and always has been – the door to successful, productive lives for millions of young people and the key to Texas’ future.
Republican Rick Perry, meanwhile, continues to live off the taxpayer’s dime while hypocritically tearing down the state government that has employed him for the past quarter century, most of his adult life. Perry is the favorite son of the monied few who believe the governor’s office is for lease and the darling of those who believe the Earth really may be flat, but he is no friend of education. It is past time for voters to hold him “accountable” for his legacy of high dropout rates and inadequate state support of teachers and the public schools.
Now that my instant assessment of the governor’s race is out of the way, let me introduce myself. For a very long time, I was a statehouse political reporter and columnist in Austin before becoming a refugee from the busily shrinking newspaper industry. Last year, I also worked for several months for former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Schieffer, a decent, thoughtful man who wisely bowed out of the race to afford Rick Perry and not himself the opportunity of being trampled by Bill White. Now, I am pleased to be writing for the Texas State Teachers Association.
I am a longago graduate of the public schools in San Antonio, a strong believer in teachers and public education and the father of three children. My son is a high school freshman in the Austin public schools, one daughter is a graduate of the Austin public schools and another daughter will soon enter the public schools. My parentsinlaw are retired public school teachers, and my wife, a former journalist, is an assistant university professor.
I will be writing about Texas teachers, the lifechanging but oftenunderappreciated work that they do and the political arena in which they must operate. I will be informative, and, as you may already have noticed, I also will be issuing political report cards.
I hope to provoke and maybe even entertain. Please respond. Try as you might, it won’t be easy to hurt my feelings. More than three decades of reporting and critiquing the work of governors, legislators and assorted political wannabes has taught me how to take it as well as dish it out.