Davis’ Education platform

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that State Senator Wendy Davis, the presumptive Democratic nominee for Governor, has unveiled a new Education plan, one that has already  been called the “most comprehensive in years.” The plan is a multi-pronged approach that focuses predominantly one helping teachers.

First and foremost, she seeks to boost teacher pay, which she was quick to note is far below the national average. Next, she sought to help protect the Teach for Texas Loan Repayment Program. The platform would also include offsetting budget cuts that gutted a similar provision that helps to provide financial incentives to teachers-aides who pursue their teaching certificates. Additionally, the Davis campaign noted they would seek to increase the number of guidance counselors required in most public schools.

I’ve attached the full details of the plan, and assume a few others will provide greater descriptions of the platform, but I want to focus in particular on perhaps the cornerstone of the platform, which strives to make the profession of teaching more attractive to the average student. Davis’ platform would allow for students graduating in the Top 20% of their high school class to gain admission to public colleges and universities (including UT-Austin), provided that they pledge to enter a career in teaching.

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Revamping of Graduation Requirements

A few weeks ago, I talked about how there were a few bills that would revamp graduation requirements, including eliminating the need for students to take Algebra II in order to graduate. Well, this is a few days old, but the Texas House recently passed (nearly unanimously) that proposal.

The bill passed, HB5, would reduce end-of-year standardized testing, which is good. It would also reduce the number of science and math classes taken in order to graduate. However, like I mentioned earlier, it would create a remedial path to graduation that many students would be placed into. This would include making Geometry the top math level required for graduation (what I completed in the 9th grade). There would also create a “distinguished diploma,” which would essentially be the same diploma everyone gets right now. It would be college preparatory track, and only be undergoing this track would one be considered for the “top 10% (top 8%) rule.”

Mark Strama, an Austin Representative, attempted to amend the bill by making the distinguished option the default one, and force any individual wishing to graduate in the vocational track to opt-out of the collegiate path. This proposal was defeated, mostly along partisan lines.

The Dallas Morning News has more.