Beto hopes to provide assistance to teachers and schools by:
protecting teacher retirement,
eliminating all tax dollars going to private schools,
returning teachers to an emphasis on teaching instead of forcing them to prepare students for high stakes tests,
increasing funding for Pell Grants and the Federal Perkins Loan programs.
Reasons for Supporting Beto on Education—
TEACHER RETIREMENT COMES FROM TEACHERS’ SALARIES. After years of asking teachers to pay a portion of their salaries into the retirement system, it would be nothing short of criminal to remove or reduce this safety net. Money in Teacher Retirement belongs to teachers. Most people do not realize that public school teachers do not pay into social security.
POVERTY DENIES FREEDOM. Most Texans understand that SB7, the “Robin Hood” bill passed in 1993 does not work efficiently. A research study from Stanford University found that after losing school money, wealthy districts tend to fill in the gaps by replacing lost revenue. Unfortunately, poor school districts use state aid to reduce taxes. Only a small fraction of the money actually benefits children or teachers.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS OPEN DOORS FOR ALL Public schools need and deserve money from taxes. Parents who choose to educate their children outside of the public system should pay for private services. Although advocates claim to support vouchers as a way to help families living in poverty, vouchers usually do not provide enough money to pay tuition for better private schools.
PUBLIC EDUCATION IS ACCOUNTABLE. Private schools do not have to offer special education to students with disabilities. That makes the public system solely responsible for children with challenges and for the majority of low-income and second language children.
FORGIVING STUDENT LOANS BOOSTS ECONOMY. Beto wants to increase assistance to students following graduation from high school. When conservatives cut funding for higher education, universities must raise tuition to stay open. Banks borrow money at 1% interest but require students to repay loans at 8% interest or higher. Although not all graduates will want or need to attend universities, all need preparation to obtain and secure gainful employment.
SERVING OTHERS SERVES SELF. Finally, for most, teaching amounts to a calling to serve. The “ball and chain” linking teachers’ daily lives and their professional survival to high-stakes tests seems counter to all we know about quality teaching and learning.
HIGH STAKES TESTS TRAP PUBLIC SCHOOLS—High-stakes tests do not determine what a student needs to learn and what has been mastered. When enough students fail the high-stakes tests, the school fails. Conservative thinking believes that a failing school must be punished by losing government funds. Less money increases the possibility of increased failures. Thus, to conservative thinking, money should go to successful private schools, which do not have to take the high stakes tests and thus do not fail.
Sources: House Joint Committee. “Brief History of Robin Hood in Texas.” Texas Public Policy. September 29, 2016. Kinskey, Matthew. “The Effect of Texas’ ‘Robin Hood’ Finance Redistribution Program on Wealthy and Underprivileged Texas Schools.” Stanford University. May 20, 2009. Turner, Cory. “The Promise and Peril of School Vouchers.” nprEd. May 12, 2917.