I am where I am today, because despite my humble upbringing in the poorest neighborhood in San Antonio, a Texas public school gave me the opportunity to succeed. Our public schools are the path to opportunity, but for too many Texans, that opportunity is slipping away because of the current Governor’s failed policies. A child’s background, zip code, race, or how much money their parents make shouldn’t matter – every child deserves the chance to get ahead.
It is the State’s responsibility to ensure all of our children have the opportunity to receive a quality education and right now the state simply isn’t doing its job. Rather than investing in our future, Governor Abbott and his allies have done everything possible to undermine and attack our public schools. That is why fixing our education system will be one of my top priorities as governor. If we want to prepare Texas for the future and ensure our kids are prepared to compete in a 21st century global economy, we must prioritize investing in education.
First, we need to fix our broken school finance system. It is past time for the state to pay their fair share and stop placing the burden on local communities and homeowners. The skyrocketing local property taxes and budget shortfalls of local communities are a direct result of Governor Abbott’s refusal to prioritize our students and families. On financing, it is also critical to update our outdated funding models to make sure our funding formulas work for the cost of educating students in the 21st century. This includes removing the caps on special education funding.
We also must begin to pay and treat our teachers like the professionals that they are. If we want to build an education system that is the envy of the nation, we must recruit and retain a pipeline of teachers and truly invest in this critical workforce.
Additionally, we know that the opportunity gap has already started by the time students get to kindergarten, with so many children falling behind and missing out on the overwhelming benefits of early childhood education. That is why I will fight for universal Pre-K for all Texas students.
It is time to get serious about investing in our children and investing in our future.