Grapevine High school was the site Thursday night of a pep rally and while it included students and even drum lines, its rallying point wasn’t football or some other school-specific focus. Instead, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports the event as organized by leaders of the Carroll, Grapevine-Colleyville and Keller school districts and designed to encourage education activism through demanding a restoration of public education funds cut in the 2011 legislative session and opposing school choice options like vouchers or tax credits.
Southlake businessman Frank Bliss was quoted discussing the public school financing system’s “structural deficit” and how “resources have been cut while expectations have grown with high-stakes assessments.” Per the Telegram, R. Louie Sullins of Colleyville said “although educators do a great job with the inadequate funds they have, a continued lack of resources would harm students in the short term because of fewer programs and in the future by not preparing them to thrive in a global economy.”
Interesting talk in a taxpayer-funded venue. And presumably, no mention of figures from the Texas Comptroller’s office showing K-12 education funding increasing at a rate of five times faster than student enrollment growth from 1999-2009 – despite student performance failing to reflect that additional investment.
A handout reportedly distributed at the event provided information to connect with the Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE) for information on legislative actions and to receive ATPE Legislative Alerts. It provided area legislators’ contact information and encouraged at least monthly calls through the session’s end or “whenever ATPE legislative alerts are issued to cite ATPE’s legislative priorities and reinforce your concerns.”
“ATPE Legislative Priorities for the 83rd Legislative Session” were listed on the handout as restoring 2011 budget cuts, opposing vouchers, scholarships, tax credits or similar programs that would facilitate taxpayer dollars being used for school choice or other educational pursuits in venues outside the public school system. It also urges the Legislature to maintain the existing Teacher Retirement System defined benefit structure.