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TER Statement in Support of Senate Education Reform Package

March 3, 2015
Contact: Sherry Sylvester
[email protected]

(Austin, TX) The Board of Directors of Texans for Education Reform issued the following statements today in support of the package of bi-partisan backed education reform bills announced by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Senate Education Chairman Larry Taylor. This legislation, along with the education proposals recently announced by Gov. Greg Abbott as a priority of his Administration, demonstrate a clear commitment to making sure every Texas child has access to a high performing public school: 

“The proposed education reforms proposed today by Lt. Governor Patrick, as well as the priorities laid out by Governor Greg Abbott, are urgently needed.  They include the essential components of an education policy that will help assure that no Texas child – regardless of race, ethnicity or zip code – is forced to attend a failing public school. Chairman Taylor’s bill on A-F public school campus ratings will provide parents with the information they need to make the best decision for their child, and the bill will create the impetus for schools to work to improve their ratings. Parent empowerment legislation, also authored by Chairman Taylor, will improve a law we already have in Texas and more easily allow parents to intervene in their child’s failing public school in time to make a meaningful change.” Doug Foshee, Texans for Education Reform Board, Houston

“We applaud Lt. Governor Patrick’s championing of reforms to teacher evaluation and educational development and we support Chairman Kel Seliger’s legislation. Research shows that nothing in the school environment has more impact on a child’s performance than an effective teacher. We need much more substantial professional development options for our teachers at every stage of their career, as provided by Chairman Seliger’s bill.  Everything we do to improve teacher effectiveness will help us reach our goal of making sure that every Texas child has access to a high performing public school and we appreciate the Lt. Governor and Governor’s attention to this critical issue.”  Florence Shapiro, Texas for Education Reform Chairman, Dallas

“Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, Senate Education Chairman Larry Taylor and Sen. Royce West are to be congratulated for championing the Opportunity School District Bill which will help us turnaround failing schools in Texas.  Nearly 150,000 students are currently trapped in 297 failing schools in Texas today.  Twenty of those schools are in my community in San Antonio where Hispanic students underperform Anglo students by 18 percentage points and African-American students underperform Anglo students by 23 percentage points.  It is imperative that we are able to intervene in chronically failing schools timely and effectively and the Opportunity School District provides the best way to do that.” Hugh Fitzsimons, Texans for Education Reform Board, San Antonio

“The Education package put forward by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and Senate Education Chairman Larry Taylor, as well as the reforms proposed by Gov. Greg Abbott as a priority for his Administration, take several essential steps in helping reform our public schools so that our children will be equipped to compete in the rapidly evolving technological workplace and global marketplace.  Chairman Taylor’s proposal to expand access to digital learning and online course access is one obvious and commonsense step to helping our students meet this challenge.  It has the potential to bring world-class instruction tools into some of our most remote classrooms as well as providing learning options that can help meet the widely diverse needs of our Texas students. For Texas to continue to prosper, every Texas child must prosper, which means every child needs access to a high performing public school.” Woody Hunt, Texans for Education Board, El Paso

Lt. Governor Patrick stressed that the package of bills represents the first wave of education reforms that are a priority for the Senate and that additional reforms will be proposed in coming days. 

Texans for Education Reform (TER) is a bipartisan, non-profit organization of education, business, and civic leaders committed to improving public schools in Texas.  Our mission is to assure that no Texas child – regardless of race, ethnicity or zip code – is forced to attend a failing public school.  TER advocates proven educational strategies and policies that focus on students first and yield measurable results.