Project Ēdūcō Focus Areas
We decided we needed to create a scorecard that reflects our public schools, and shows how legislators are supporting them. Some pro-public education areas of focus may change session to session, as the needs of Texas public schools change, but the core focus will very likely stay the same.
Remember, for Project Ēdūcō, major grades are bills or amendments that fall into two categories:
1. Increase per pupil spending
2. No Privatization of Public School funds
These are our top two focus areas, but certainly not the only ones for any legislative session.
What about other education bills?
As we evaluate public education bills and amendments, Project Ēdūcō will be looking for to generate minor grades on the scorecard. Granted, these items are not purely money in (via increasing per student spending) or money out (via public dollars being diverted into privatization), but they drive a culture of supporting our students, those currently working in our public schools and those who made their careers in education, and all of the communities around our state. This list is not all inclusive, but will be our guide.
1. Test no more than required by federal law
2. Remove all high stakes from tests
3. No score based merit pay. Kids are not an assembly line.
4. Create a school finance model which honors both the spirit and intent of Article 7 of the state constitution
5. Any model changes should add resources to support schools with challenges, not remove resources
6. Texas ranks 50th in the nation in providing benefits to educators. We have to examine ways to enhance benefit offerings to both current and retired educators.
7. Create a structured automatic cost of living adjustment for education retirees
These are elements that will help Texas surge forward with a culture of learning, keeping our best educators in the profession, and attracting new ones to our schools. By creating an environment where children can be their best, supported by educators who are there to unlock their potential, our state can be a model for our country.
We've seen the initial budget proposals for the 86th Session of the Texas Legislature. It all sounds promising, but it's the bills and votes that make it reality. Pro public education policies can help lift our entire state.
Legislators, are you up to the challenge? Project Ēdūcō sure hopes so.