Chad’s Morning Brief: Abbott Calls for More Local Control of Schools, Rick Perry Hammers Andrew Cuomo, and Other Top Stories
Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of April 24, 2014. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am. Remember, you can listen online at KFYO.com or on your iPhone/Android with the radioPup App.
Important Election Dates:
Early Voting for City and School Board Election: April 28 – May 6
Election Day for City and School Board: May 10
Early Voting for GOP and Dem. Primary Runoff: May 19 – May 23
Election Day for GOP and Dem. Primary Runoff: May 27
Abbott Talks Education
Greg Abbott rolled out more of his education platform on Wednesday according to the Texas Tribune. Abbott called for more local control of decisions when it comes to schools.
Unveiling his latest education policy plan, Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott on Wednesday proposed giving school districts and parents more control of students’ education by tossing out state mandates and regulations that promote “one-size-fits-all solutions.”
Abbott’s plan, which he presented at Northbrook High School in Houston, proposes letting parents more easily petition the state’s education commissioner to change campus management of poorly rated schools, increasing parents’ access to school performance data, and offering school districts the ability to opt out of state mandates of day-to-day operations, including calendars, food and beverage services, and transportation.
“There are 31 chapters in the Texas Education Code that govern the public education system through a plethora of regulations and mandates,” Abbott’s proposal reads. “As a result of this seemingly endless array of regulations and mandates, there is very little leeway for meaningful decision-making at the school district-level, much less the family level.”
While the plan largely focuses on moving away from “centralized” control of school districts, it also proposes the creation of the Texas Achievement School District, which would take control of underperforming elementary schools from local districts and would be tasked with improving the schools’ performance.
The new district, which would be led by an independent superintendent who would have “broad discretion over personnel” and the school’s operations, would oversee the bottom 15 public or charter elementary schools in the state that have received an F rating under the Texas Education Agency’s accountability rating system for two consecutive years.
On Wednesday, before Abbott released his proposal, the campaign of his Democratic opponent, Wendy Davis, went after the Republican over his choice of location for the announcement.
Northbrook High School is part of Spring Branch ISD, which is among the more than two-thirds of Texas school districts that are fighting the state in an ongoing school finance lawsuit over $5.4 billion in spending cuts to public education that the Legislature made in 2011.
As the state’s attorney general, Abbott has represented the state in the lawsuit against the school districts, which claim that the state’s funding system is inadequate.
“Perhaps the problem is that Greg Abbott is having trouble locating a school district in the entire state of Texas that’s not currently fighting him in a courtroom lawsuit,” Davis spokesman Zac Petkanas said in a statement.
Davis, who has attempted to make education a key issue in the governor’s race, has repeatedly criticized Abbott for defending the school finance system and has called on him to settle the suit.
In his proposal, Abbott also calls for increased funding for teacher preparation programs.
The plan recommends increasing support of teacher internship programs like UTeach, which recruits and trains undergraduates to become teachers. Abbott’s proposal would provide up to $2 million in funding for the upcoming biennium “as needed” to promote the creation of similar programs.
Abbott also proposed increasing state appropriations to the Texas Education Agency in the upcoming biennium from $12 million to $15 million to support Teach for America, which recruits college graduates to teach in underserved areas, and its expansion into other regions of the state.
Perry in New York
Texas Governor Rick Perry continued his pitch to New York businesses to move to Texas yesterday. At the same time he continued to push New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to debate him according to the Observer.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry was in New York today to make his pitch to business leaders he hopes to lure to the Lone Star State, and took the opportunity to reissue his debate challenge to Gov. Andrew Cuomo–who today declined the request.
“Yes, I’m here recruiting business. I’m don’t shy away from that. I’m very upfront about that. But I’m also here to help stimulate a conversation with the people of New York state, the people in New York City, the legislators, the governor,” said Mr. Perry, speaking to reporters after a lunch with business owners at Hill Country BBQ.
Earlier this week, Mr. Perry said he wanted to sit down with Mr. Cuomo face-to-face to debate the two states’ approaches to economic policy, which Mr. Cuomo–whose office did not respond to requests for comment–today dismissed as “unlikely,” according to reports.
“I hope he’ll seriously consider doing it. I think it would be good for the people of New York and it’d be good for the country,” said Mr. Perry. “I’ll leave that to you all to probe him on.”
The former Republican presidential candidate, who is considering another run in 2016, has been criss-crossing the country, speaking to local business owners and quietly rebuilding his national brand. And while Texas isn’t often embraced by New Yorkers, he said his reception so far had been positive.
“People are curious,” he said of his pitch, claiming that multiple players had expressed interest in setting up shop down south, but declining to name names. “I don’t want to put people in an uncomfortable position of having the mayor or the governor call ‘em up and, ‘What are you doin’?’” he said with a smirk.
Mr. Perry has long made the case that high taxes and tight regulations have stymied New York’s growth, and argued the Empire State has a lot to learn from Texas.
“I do not argue the fact that New York has as vibrant a cultural arts scene as there is in the country. I will give you that. California has beautiful weather. And Napa Valley is hard to compete with when it comes to their wine. But the fact is, you can’t sustain all of your life just on Broadway, or just on Napa Valley or just on the weather,” he said today. “There are other things that are really important to people, like being able to keep more of your money.”
Mr. Perry also took the opportunity to prod Mr. Cuomo, who has been running ads urging out-of-state businesses to relocate to new “Start-Up NY” tax-free zones, which Mr. Perry said he’d happened to catch on TV last night.
The ads, he said, “are really good, by the way. But why would you be showin’ ‘em in New York City? I mean, just curious,” he asked. “If you were really interested in luring business, you’d be out doin’ those in Texas or Oklahoma.” Texas ran similar ads in New York earlier this year.
Still, he said the effort was a sign of much-needed competition, which he credited himself, in part, for spurring.
“I’m not going to take credit for this, but I’ve got to think that one of the reasons that the New New York ads are being run is ’cause I showed up here a year ago and [Florida Gov.] Rick Scott came up here and made the pitch. And [Louisiana Gov.] Bobby Jindal has been to New York to make the pitch for his state,” he said. “Bobby Jindal makes me really uncomfortable.”
As for the recruitment efforts, several of those in attendance today sounded intrigued.
“I don’t share his political vision, but I do like what he’s doing,” said Ibrahim Foina, who works in investment banking, and said he’d met several people who sounded like potential business partners as he left the meeting.
Ron, 52, who runs an infrastructure technology company and declined to give his last name, said he’d attended “to see what Texas has to offer” and walked away impressed.
Asked if he would miss New York, however, the man quickly made clear that no matter where his company expanded, he was staying put.
“I’m not going anywhere,” he said.
Perfect. I’m glad that Governor Perry is attracting business to Texas, but it also makes me happy to hear that while the business may come, the liberal voters won’t. Nothing wrong with that.
Other Top Stories:
These and many more topics coming up on today’s edition of The Chad Hasty Show. Tune in mornings 8:30-11am on News/Talk 790 KFYO, streaming online at kfyo.com, and now on your iPhone and Android device with the radioPup App. All guest interviews can be heard online in our podcast section after the show at kfyo.com.