Lawmakers Suggest Education Reform Measures For Schools In Texas

Nathan Bernier, KUT

Lt. Gov. Dewhurst talking to a Catholic school student about math at Austin's Cathedral School of St. Mary.
Texas lawmakers unveiled a package of education reforms that includes an effort to help some public school students attend private schools. The announcement was made inside a Catholic elementary school in Austin.

Senate Education Chairman Dan Patrick of Houston and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst pulled the wrapper off a long-awaited package of education reform measures. Patrick says it's all about making successful schools better.

"Here's a simple way for you to remember our broad-based, very comprehensive sweeping legislation: A-C-C-T and that's accountability, choice, charters, career and technology. Every element is important to provide a skilled workforce for the future, to give opportunities for university — if that's where students want to go to a four year university, or a two year community college. We want to create pathways to make sure our students are succ succ successful."

The proposal will help students in failing schools by giving them an opportunity to transfer to any public school or district.

"We need to lift the gap. We need to close down the bad public schools, as the Lt . Governor said, with a parent trigger or the commissioner coming in a recovering school district, to take over poor performing schools, not after six years as the current law says, but after two years. If you're an "F" rated school after two years, you need to be closed down ... amen."

Public schools would also be given flexibility to extend the school day or start the school year earlier than the law now allows. Patrick backs a tax credit scholarship for low-income students. It provides businesses that donate to private school scholarship programs, a credit on what they owe the state in franchise or insurance taxes.

Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...