Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Texas LULAC Says “NO” to CSHB 2

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Angela Valenzuela - 512-232-6008
Contact: Adrian Rodriguez- 214-478-5921
March 8, 2005

Texas LULAC Says “NO” to CSHB 2

(Austin, TX) - The Texas LULAC leadership says it will not be in favor of Committee Substitute House Bill (CSHB) 2. “Couched in the rhetoric of 'accountability and reform' is an underlying agenda by the House leadership to keep minorities from advancing,” said Roger Rocha, Texas LULAC State Director. Lost in the furor over school finance and CSHB 2 is the scheme to advance privatization and vouchers at the expense of all Texas children.

Aside from the reasons being cited by other pro-children organizations opposing CSHB 2, there are 13 additional tests for high school students that would standardize curricula across Texas. Angela Valenzuela, Education Committee Chair for Texas LULAC and a critic of high stakes testing, indicated, “There is no standard child. Not only do they come in all shapes, sizes, and learning levels, the Texas educational system is not a level playing field-which, yet again, this new testing regime presupposes.”

Behind the effort to increase testing are certain members of the business community more interested in seeing privatization of public schools. These members of the business community have been duped into believing that increased privatization (vouchers and charter schools) of the public school system will mean more prosperity and a better public education system overall.

Under a voucher system, the achievement gap will widen further because it will leave the poorest children and the disabled in cash-strapped public schools while exacerbating inequalities. With the same voucher, the education that children from wealthy families will be able to purchase for their child will be of a significantly better quality than that which middle-class or poor families can afford.

Lobbying efforts by huge corporations have left the future of Texas in jeopardy. Two large testing organizations that stand to profit the most from increasing standardized testing are Pearson Education and Kaplan. According to a March 6, 2005 article appearing in the Dallas Morning News, they both have as their lobbyist in Austin, Sandy Kress, an educational advisor to the Governor who was instrumental in helping President George W. Bush craft the No Child Left Behind Act. When the Governor's advisor advocates for his clients, he is not advocating for the children of Texas. And how can so-called accountability be trusted when it serves the interests of individuals like Sandy Kress whose “solutions” to the achievement gap line the pockets of his high-dollar friends?

Our legislators want accountability from the education profession. According to Adrian Rodriguez, Texas LULAC Chief of Staff, “Accountability starts by funding schools so that all children receive a higher level of education.” Texas LULAC believes legislators have systematically reduced the effectiveness of the public education system through legislation that further advances the voucher and privatization agenda.

Texas LULAC says, “This roadmap must be redrawn so that ALL children have a chance at success!”

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