Texas public school students across the state started taking the STAAR test today. The state of the state’s public schools has long been a contentious topic – from standardized testing to school finance.
That debate continued today at TCU in Fort Worth. Three state lawmakers from Tarrant County gathered for a conversation organized by the Texas Tribune.
Republican Representative Craig Goldman said fixing state schools doesn’t necessarily mean spending more money.
“If you ask me, the money is there, the question is what are you doing in your ISD to make it happen?” Goldman said. “Kent Scribner, our new head of the Fort Worth ISD, just cut eight or nine jobs, saving over $1 million. These jobs were average $125,000, $150,000 jobs in the administration building. What’s he doing? He’s putting more money in the classrooms where it needs to be.”
State Rep. Stephanie Klick agreed – and she points to Texas’s education system as the bedrock of opportunity for Texans to succeed.
But Rep. Ramon Romero, a Democrat who represents Southeast Fort Worth, said Texas schools aren’t all equal. He told Evan Smith with the Texas Tribune that the opportunity gaps go beyond the classroom.
“I can’t sit by and say that this is America, the greatest place where you get the best education, and you go into my side of town and you see the schools in my side of town,” Romero said. “Don’t tell me that you’re getting the best education and there’s no grocery stores, you’ve got convenience stores, there’s no jobs anywhere around. The jobs that that are available are minimum wage.”
Smith asked Romero: “You think the point that Representatives Klick and Goldmann made, the opportunity is not equal opportunity?”
Romero responded: “They need to spend more time in the ‘hood.”
The state lawmakers also talked about hot-button political questions about gun control. They also talked about infrastructure and healthcare challenges brought on by the state’s rapidly growing population.
Video: Watch the Texas Tribune conversation