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House Bill 2: Votes for Gutting Education Standards and for Privatization Undermine Neighborhood Schools

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 9, 2005

TFN President Kathy Miller responded to votes by legislators today narrowly rejecting amendments to House Bill 2 that would have turned back efforts to gut quality education standards and to privatize hundreds of struggling public schools. House Bill 2 would overhaul the way the state pays for and runs its schools. The amendments by Rep. Carter Casteel, R-New Braunfels, and Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, failed by just two votes each.

“Many legislators essentially admitted today that the standards and accountability they’ve been touting all session don’t matter. The reality is that they are gutting the very standards like small class sizes, certified teachers and early reading intervention that made exemplary schools and their students successful in the first place.

After tossing aside these proven standards, legislators also voted to empower the state education commissioner to turn struggling schools over to failing companies like Edison Schools, Inc. These private, for-profit companies have failed students across the country while draining precious tax dollars from neighborhood schools to line the pockets of investors.… Read More

House Bill 2 Is about Privatization, Not Reform

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 8, 2005

House Bill 2 is not a reform bill. It’s a privatization bill that sets Texas schools up for failure. It relies for funding on $3 billion in budget savings elsewhere that may never materialize. If legislators don’t find that money, then our schools are still stuck with a series of reckless measures in the bill.

For example, the bill lets exemplary schools ignore state standards that helped their students succeed in the first place. It also effectively redefines low-performing so that the rating applies to about 10 percent of our schools, up from the 1 percent that are currently rated as “academically inadequate.” The bill then allows the commissioner to turn those schools more than 400 of them over to for-profit, private education companies like Edison Schools, Inc., that have a terrible record of academic performance. In fact, at least 20 school districts across the country including Texas districts like Dallas and Sherman have severed ties with Edison because schools managed by the company perform so poorly.… Read More

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

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