Raise Your Hand Texas has recently hosted a highly successful “Advocacy & Engagement” luncheon in Lubbock, TX. The local community came together in support of quality Texas public education and to discuss specific legislative agenda items. The luncheon was covered by Lubbock media here.
Such notables to attend the luncheon include Byron Martin, Bill Miller, John Heflin, Bob Craig, Mike Moses, David Seim, John Elliot, Ryan Curry, Amber Dean and Nancy Neal.
Below is the speech presented by Karen Garza, ISD Superintendent:
Thank you Bob –
Bob Craig – 24 years of public service – 14 years on the Lubbock ISD Board of Trustees and another 10 years on the State Board of Education. Bob is a statesman and very thoughtful and measured leader whose service has had a very positive and lasting impact on the children of this state. We are grateful for you.
I believe so passionately in the Power and promise of our Public Schools. Our nation’s forefather’s envisioned a country where the opportunity to learn in free, public schools was absolutely essential to a strong democracy. This vision – this mission – has served our country so well.
In fact, even today, strong public schools remain the only thing proven time and time again to have the greatest potential to break the cycle of poverty. My colleagues in the room today – superintendents and trustees from all across West Texas – are aware of many compelling stories of young men and women who have graduated our schools and gone on to college as the first in their families – young men and women whose lives will be very different than what their own parents experienced.
Public schools today are better than ever before in the history of Texas. We graduate more young people today and send more to the workforce, or college and universities than ever before. We are better than ever before, but we recognize that we are not yet good enough. We continue to have work to do.
Today, public schools in Texas and public schools across the country are under enormous threat.
Last session, Texas public schools felt significant and impactful reductions in funding – a total of over $5 B statewide. For Lubbock ISD, our funding was reduced by $14 M – that translates roughly to more than $7300 per classroom.
Now, this session, there have been no serious discussions about further reductions, although, the Chair of the Senate Education Committee, Senator Dan Patrick is pushing for vouchers and corporate tax credits – which would essentially do the same thing – divert precious resources from Texas public schools.
The fate of our public schools in Texas – the monies that we have available to us, the expectations and standards for schools, including testing, even when we are able to start school, how many students in each classroom – these and so many other aspects of life in our schools are determined every session by our Legislature.
So, what happens in Austin has a direct impact on our local public schools. We are all affected – our children and our communities weigh in the balance.
We are so fortunate to be represented by a thoughtful and supportive delegation from West Texas, but they cannot be alone in protecting and strengthening our public schools. Other concerned individuals/groups, parents, community leaders – you can have a very positive impact on this important democratic process.
Your presence here today, demonstrates that you are interested and that you care. On behalf of all West Texas schools and the children we serve, I thank you for being here today and for your continued support of our schools.
Furthermore, we are so thankful for the influence and advocacy that Raise Your Hand Texas provides. This organization was formed 6 years ago for the express purpose of supporting Texas public schools. Their influence is positive and impactful. David – on behalf of all Texas public school children – 5 Million Texas school children – we are grateful to you and your entire organization for being a positive force for good in Austin and throughout the state.