Chad’s Morning Brief: Wendy Davis Talks Education in Texas, Lubbock City Council Meeting, and Other Top Stories
Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of January 10, 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.
Wendy Davis Talks Education
Wendy Davis hit the campaign trail yesterday hitting the topic of Education hard. Davis announced a few ideas of hers. Those ideas included guaranteeing admission to those in the top 20% of their high school class into the Texas college of their choice as long as they promise to become teachers. Davis also wants to give all teachers a raise. How does Davis pay for this and how much will it cost? As the Texas Tribune reports, Davis doesn’t know.
Unveiling her first major policy initiative as a candidate for Texas governor, state Sen. Wendy Davis on Thursday vowed to increase the supply of teachers, pay them more and help wipe out the debts they rack up in college.
“I do believe that education must be the No. 1 priority that we address as a state,” the Fort Worth Democrat said. “Texas leadership hasn’t really provided the focus and the priority on education that it demands and that it deserves.”
Davis wouldn’t say how much the plan might cost or how she would come up with the money to pay for it, but she said she believed she could implement it without raising new taxes.
The centerpiece of the plan: Texas students in the top 20 percent of their high school class would get automatic admission to Texas colleges and universities, including the University of Texas at Austin, provided they promise to become teachers. Once they graduate with the requisite teacher certification, they would be guaranteed a job in a Texas public school.
Davis said the supply of teachers must increase to keep up with the state’s exploding population.
Davis unveiled the proposal after a roundtable discussion with educators and school administrators on the campus of the University of Texas at Arlington. The plan is one of several education policy initiatives she expects to roll out in coming weeks.
Titled “Great Teachers. Great Texas,” the plan includes six planks. Among them is a proposal to expand the underfunded Teach for Texas Loan Repayment Assistance Program. According to the Higher Education Coordinating Board, the number of applicants has far exceeded the amount of available funding throughout the nine-year history of the program.
Davis vowed to make the program available to “all qualified students,” expand it to include more teachers and tie the loan forgiveness more directly to service in a Texas school district
Saying that Texas pays its teachers thousands of dollars below the national average, Davis also pledged to work to erase that gap.
“We must show them that they are worth the investment that we are willing to put into the hard work that they do,” Davis said.
Speaking with reporters after the roundtable discussion, Davis would not give an estimate on how much the program might cost, saying, “We’ll be working on developing that as we go forward.” She said some of the goals might not be accomplished “overnight” and would have to be implemented over time.
The campaign of Davis’ expected Republican opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbott, was quick to criticize the lack of detail about how to finance the new programs.
“Sen. Wendy Davis’ proposals are more fuzzy math – a plan that will increase spending and impose more mandates on Texas universities without explaining how to pay for it,” said Abbott spokesman Matt Hirsch. “Greg Abbott believes in genuine local control of education: empowering parents, teachers and principals to serve our students well.”
Davis said she believed there was enough money in state coffers now to cover the new proposals. She also said she does not “intend as governor to propose any tax increase.”
“Right now under the leadership that we’ve had in Texas, the Legislature has been instructed to constrain, constrain, constrain and not to prioritize as a goal,” she said. “Strengthening the public education environment through additional resources, within existing state resources, I absolutely believe we can fund, and make a priority, public education in the state of Texas.”
Asked how her vision of education would differ from Abbott’s, Davis said that differences would be highlighted soon.
“This month we’ll highlight the difference between us,” Davis said. “This month, of course, I’ll be talking in great detail about my plan for prioritizing public education in Texas while General Abbott is in a courtroom defending the cuts that were made to public education. I think it’s a pretty clear distinction between what our focus and our priorities are.”
Typical left-wing politics. Make a bunch of promises without details.
Lubbock City Council Meeting
The Lubbock City Council met last night and citizen comments wasn’t the only highlight of the night. Here is Cole Shooter’s story from KFYO News.
At this week’s Lubbock City Council meeting, a number of people showed up in beards to protest a potential Council decision to no longer show citizen comments on the televised meetings.
Some members of the group South Plains Advocates for Freedom, also known as SPAFF, donned regalia from the popular reality show Duck Dynasty to further illustrate their point.
Burley Owen, a SPAFF member, said “It has been said that Lubbock has its own Duck Dynasty problem. As you know, when Phil on that show spoke out on Christian principles, there were those that did not like what he said and tried to censor him by removing him from the show in order to take away his platform for speaking out.”
Owen continued, saying “The parallel and similarity to Duck Dynasty is that perhaps the City Council appears not to like what we are saying, so you want to take away the platform that we have to present counterpoints and raise questions about what the City is doing.”
Not everyone agreed with the bearded speakers.
“I’ve told some of you, and now all of you, that I disagree with the original decision to pull public comments from the City channel, but I understand why you did it and I agree with why you did it,” said Bill Curnow.
Curnow continued, saying. “I think there is value to hearing from the citizens and from the citizens watching this section on TV, but as the mayor and others have pointed out, this is not an appropriate venue to act childish and begin to attack personally the people sitting up there.”
Prior to the citizen comment portion of the meeting, Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson said “All citizen comments will be aired, as they have been in the past. We will have an item on the dais at the next meeting for this council to have, hopefully a very professional and calm discussion on if there is any changes we need to make.”
During Thursday’s meeting, the Council kept a closer watch on the comments of citizens that had signed up seven days in advance of the City Council meeting, with City Attorney Sam Medina gently reminding speakers to stay on topic to allow Council members the ability to respond, as laid out by the Texas Open Meetings Act.
The Council also gave unanimous approval to changing the zoning of an area in South Lubbock to accommodate portions of a new Walmart location.
During a City Planning and Zoning Commission public hearing on December 10th, 2013, a number of property owners from Orchard Park and Vintage Township expressed concerns with plans to place a Walmart location at 114th Street and Quaker Avenue.
The Walmart location was going to be built regardless of the Council’s vote on this issue, as this particular zone case related to outside display and storage along with the configuration of the store’s garden center.
At the commission meeting, citizens spoke out with concerns of the company’s practices, as well as concerns of noise, lights, and the size of the development.
The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended including a requirement for a landscaping buffer north of the location, which will include a 12-foot high dividing barrier and a minimum 25-foot landscaping barrier with mature trees. Walmart will also not be allowed any additional driveways other than the two proposed along 114th Street and the two proposed along Quaker Avenue.
No overnight parking will be allowed at this Walmart location.
Other Top Stories:
9:05am- Dr. Ben Powell, Free Market Institute at Texas Tech University
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.