State Journal: Nonpublic; Plugging choice

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

What began as an effort to gain greater recognition for the achievements of students and schools in the Lone Star State instead has mushroomed into a political nightmare in the wake of a state proposal to spend more than $2 million on a public-relations campaign.

An advertising agency with connections to officials in Gov. Ann W. Richards's re-election campaign proposed touting the "Texas School System,'' studiously avoiding the word "public.'' It has become a dirty word, the agency said, associated with grimy bathrooms, dangerous housing, and lackluster schools.

The analysis cost $3,000.

The state school board did its best to sweep the issue under the rug at its meeting this month and distance itself from the concept, as did the Governor, who said in a letter to the board that she was "greatly disturbed.''

Campaign spokesmen for her Republican opponent in November, George W. Bush, called the matter "bureaucracy gone berserk.''

State education officials said the matter was an example of an attempt to spread good news gone bad.

Puerto Rico's experiment with a voucher program has become a pet cause of the private-school-choice movement in the United States. The commonwealth has been aided in the defense of its voucher plan by the Institute for Justice, a public-interest legal organization in Washington.

And last week, Jose Arsenio Torres, Puerto Rico's secretary of education, delivered a lecture about the voucher plan at the Heritage Foundation, a Washington think tank, contending that radical reforms are needed to break the "vested interests'' of the education establishment.

Mr. Torres said a 1993 reform law gives low-income familes vouchers worth up to $1,500, which can be used at public or private schools or for college courses.

Public schools enrolling voucher students get to use the money as a "premium,'' he said. Almost as many students have switched from private to public schools as from public to private, he said.

The local National Education Association affiliate challenged the plan, and a judge ruled that it violates provisions of the commonwealth's constitution that bar aid to private schools.

The commonwealth has appealed.--LONNIE HARP & MARK WALSH

Vol. 13, Issue 35

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories





Sponsor Insights

Effective Ways to Support Students with Dyslexia

Stop cobbling together your EdTech

Integrate Science and ELA with Informational Text

To Address Chronic Absenteeism, Dig into the Data

Can self-efficacy impact growth for ELLs?

Disruptive Tech Integration for Meaningful Learning

5 Game-Changers in Today’s Digital Learning Platforms

Keep Your Schools Safe and Responsive to Real Challenges

Hiding in Plain Sight - 7 Common Signs of Dyslexia in the Classroom

The research: Reading Benchmark Assessments

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

All Students Are Language Learners: The Imagine Learning Language Advantage™

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

How to Support All Students with Equitable Pathways

2019 K-12 Digital Content Report

3-D Learning & Assessment for K–5 Science

Climate Change, LGBTQ Issues, Politics & Race: Instructional Materials for Teaching Complex Topics

Closing the Science Achievement Gap

Evidence-based Coaching: Key Driver(s) of Scalable Improvement District-Wide

Advancing Literacy with Large Print

Research Sheds New Light on the Reading Brain

3 Unique Learner Profiles for Emerging Bilinguals

Effective Questioning Practices to Spur Thinking

Empower Reading Teachers with Proven Literacy PD

Student Engagement Lessons from 3 Successful Districts

Response to Intervention Centered on Student Learning

The Nonnegotiable Attributes of Effective Feedback

SEE MORE Insights >