Thursday, September 08, 2005

Lawmaker calls on school leaders

Former Republican Representative Bob Griggs is right on target. Educators do need to put their hat in the ring for public office at the state level. Read on. -Angela

Run for state office to aid public education, representative says

08:35 AM CDT on Thursday, September 8, 2005

By TERRENCE STUTZ / The Dallas Morning News

AUSTIN – A Republican state representative who parted ways with GOP leaders on school finance is urging local school board members and administrators to run for the Legislature next year and counter the "false" beliefs many lawmakers hold on public education in Texas.

Rep. Bob Griggs of North Richland Hills, said he was "putting out the call" for more educators to run for state office so they can fight the "misguided and damaging efforts to dismantle Texas' educational system" that have surfaced in the Legislature over the last few years.

Mr. Griggs, former superintendent of the Birdville school district in Tarrant County, recently announced he would not seek a third term next year.

In a letter distributed through the education community, the Republican said he has seen firsthand the widely held belief in the Legislature "that established educators are the problem with education and that the system cannot be fixed without wiping the slate clean and starting over from scratch."

"While I continue to fight this battle, it has become apparent there is more than just one retired superintendent can handle without additional reinforcement," he said. "Texas needs you to step up to the duty we all share as community leaders to run for state office."

Dr. Griggs noted that parent groups and political action committees are organizing around the state to back candidates who are more supportive of public schools than many current lawmakers.

"These organizations will prove a valuable resource to assist you in an effort to win election to the Legislature," his letter said.

This year, the former teacher joined Democrats in opposing a GOP-backed school finance bill that he said contained too many mandates and not enough money for school districts. The legislation was universally opposed by school districts and education groups across Texas.

Conservative groups were critical of Mr. Griggs' stance, and he had been expected to face strong primary opposition had he run for a third term in the House.

The school finance and tax swap bills failed in the regular legislative session this year, as well as in two special sessions called by Gov. Rick Perry this summer. House Republican leaders blamed school superintendents and their lobbyists for defeat of the legislation.


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