Netroots Nation featured an amazing group of speakers in Las Vegas, and Texas State Board of Education candidates got a shout-out from Linda Chavez-Thompson, candidate for Texas Lieutenant Governor. Judy Jennings and I hopped up on our chairs to wave to the audience. Thanks to all the incredible people we met, including alpolitics, ellinorianne, TexMex, and many many more.
Meanwhile, back in the Lone Star State, extremists on the Texas State Board of Education held a last-minute vote to gamble with as much as $100 million of the permanent school fund, which is used for textbooks. Extremists took advantage of the absence of two democratic members in order to vote in favor of this risky proposition. These extremists want to invest in charter school property leasing, a move their own advisors warned against.
We’ve already seen this board reject the advice of education experts and teachers in creating the curriculum for Texas school children. Now they’ve voted to ignore the advice of financial experts by engaging in real estate speculation. The board is charged with making prudent and fiscally sound investments, but instead they’ve chosen to venture into unknown territory. The board’s own consultant told them there was no track record for such investments. Time and again the board has chosen to reject the advice of qualified experts.
We need real change on the board. We can’t afford to gamble with money dedicated to the future of our children. This is yet another way to undermine the public education system that the board is elected to support. It’s not a question of whether charter schools are good or bad, but it is a matter of whether it’s ethical or even legal and constitutional to risk the financial security of money invested in the Permanent School Fund. It’s not simply a matter of the risk of owning property designed for such a narrow market, and it’s not just that this scheme would attract those charter schools in the weakest financial position. We must also ask who might stand to gain from state purchasing of real estate under this plan during one of the weakest real estate markets in recent years. Let’s save that money for investment in up-to-date, accurate textbooks and electronic sources for all Texas students.
The board’s risky behavior sets a bad role model for other states, for, as we have seen, what happens in Texas doesn’t stay in Texas. Thanks to the many Netroots participants in Las Vegas for your support. As a member of the board, I will listen to advice from dependable financial consultants, choosing safe options that offer a strong, dependable source of income for students. For those who attended Netroots Nation and received one of the #savehistory buttons, we were glad to meet you. For those who would still like a button and couldn’t make it to Netroots, any donation over $10.00 from this diary will receive a free #savehistory button.
Please help spread the word to everyone who cares about educating future generations across all fifty states. Please become a friend on Facebook and follow on twitter or at voterebecca.com. Tell your friends and family about our fight here in Texas and how it relates to everyone across the country. It will take all of us working through Nov. 2nd to make the change desperately needed on the Texas State Board of Education.