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House Bill 2: It’s About More Than Money House Education Overhaul Bill Includes Provisions for Privatization and Lowering Standards that Would Undermine Neighborhood Public Schools

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 1, 2005

AUSTIN While debate over public education has largely focused on finance measures, House Bill 2 includes other provisions that would undermine the state’s neighborhood public schools, the president of the Texas Freedom Network said today.

“Legislators need to keep their eyes on the goal: making sure all Texas kids have access to top-notch neighborhood schools,” TFN President Kathy Miller said. “As they have rightly done in past sessions, legislators should reject efforts to lower standards and turn schools over to private, for-profit companies.”

One provision in H.B. 2 would allow exemplary schools to ignore quality education standards like small class sizes, teacher certification and early reading intervention that have helped students make progress over the past two decades, Miller said.

“It makes no sense to let exemplary schools ignore the very education standards that helped their students succeed in the first place,” Miller said. “Legislators should instead be using those schools as models to reinforce standards across the state and ensure that all Texas kids have… Read More

Senate Should Reject Miller Appointment as SBOE Chair Miller’s Tenure Marked by Censorship Efforts, Divisive Politics, Poor Leadership FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 28, 2005

AUSTIN Senators should reject a record of textbook censorship, divisive politics and poor leadership by turning down the reappointment of Geraldine Miller as chair of the State Board of Education, the president of the Texas Freedom Network said today.

“This is an opportunity for senators to send a message to Gov. Perry that they’re tired of the State Board of Education playing politics with the education of Texas schoolchildren,” said TFN President Kathy Miller.

Geraldine “Tincy” Miller has served on the SBOE since 1984 and has chaired that body since 2003. The Senate Nominations Committee is considering Gov. Perry’s Feb. 23 reappointment of Miller as board chair.

Over the past two decades, Ms. Miller has been a key leader of a bloc of state board members who have worked repeatedly to censor textbook information that does not conform to their extreme personal political agendas, TFN’s Miller said.… Read More

Statement From TFN President Kathy Miller On Speaker Craddick’s Assertion That Vouchers Will Be Added Later To Education Bill FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 3, 2005

Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller responded today to House Speaker Tom Craddick’s comment to reporters Wednesday that vouchers are too divisive to tackle early in the legislative process this year and that he was “sure there’ll be an amendment” adding vouchers later to House education overhaul legislation.

Miller: “Draining money from public schools through vouchers will be just as controversial later in the session as it is now, and time for passing a school finance bill will be even shorter then.

“Our neighborhood schools are struggling right now to find the money they need to educate our kids. Vouchers would make the problem worse. It would be simply irresponsible to plot for a voucher amendment that is acknowledged to be divisive when the Legislature should unify in support of excellence in our neighborhood schools.

“Legislators are obligated to address the issues that real families face every day. Good neighborhood schools are one of those issues vouchers are not.”… Read More

Statement From Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller On Gov. Perry’s State-Of-The-State Address FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 26, 2005

Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller responded to Gov. Perry’s call today for education reform in Texas:

Gov. Perry’s education reforms must not include measures that would actually undermine our neighborhood schools. Any effort to defund neighborhood schools this session, especially through vouchers, is bad for Texas kids. Vouchers drain money out of neighborhood public schools to pay for tuition at religious and private schools. If Gov. Perry really supports neighborhood schools, he can’t support vouchers. In fact, strong opposition from Texans across the state has led lawmakers to reject voucher schemes for the past five regular sessions.

Yet big donors to the governor’s political campaigns have repeatedly called for vouchers and other education changes that would hurt our neighborhood schools. The risks of those schemes are just too high for Texas. Our state’s leaders should reject efforts by special interests to use school finance as a smokescreen for pushing narrow, ideological agendas like private school vouchers and gutting quality education standards for neighborhood schools.… Read More

Texas Freedom Network Names Kathy Miller As New President Former TFN Deputy Director to Take Helm from Samantha Smoot in January FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 8, 2004AUSTIN Kathy Miller, a former deputy director for the Texas Freedom Network, will return as president of the organization in January.

Miller served as deputy director of the organization from 1996 to 2000. She replaces Samantha Smoot, who followed founder Cecile Richards as TFN’s second president in 1998.

“We are very happy to welcome back someone who did so much to help build the Texas Freedom Network in its early years and who has worked with its first two presidents,” said Terry Kenyon, chairman of TFN’s Board of Directors. “Kathy’s experience and her positive vision for the future will ensure that TFN remains an active and influential voice for mainstream Texas values.”

Since leaving the Texas Freedom Network in 2000, Kathy has served as communications director of the Texas Council on Family Violence and National Domestic Violence Hotline. She was public affairs director for Planned Parenthood Federation of Austin from 1994 to 1996. Kathy is also the mother of two daughters, Olivia and Caroline, who attend public schools in Austin.… Read More

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