Democratic Candidate for Governor Speaks in Abilene on Education

 Remax Janet Baptiste

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 McMurry University

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By Joe Starkey | May 1, 2010

“Preparing young Texans is the most important thing anyone can do” was the opening comment by Mr. Bill White in his talk on the need for all Texans to compete for jobs both on the local and global markets. He also stated his philosophy that regardless of parents, color or language, “work hard and play by the rules and you are as Texan as anybody.” He concentrated his talk on education and his views on how to improve education and in Texas. He asked how Governor Perry would come up with a 10% drop out rate when 3.2 million freshmen started four years ago and Texas only graduated 2.1 this year. {{more}}Mr. White went on to speak on the economic effects of dropping out. He stated it does not just affect that person but the entire community ends up with less money to spend on every aspect of life. He instituted strategies in Houston to stop drop outs. One was to start early to catch kids up. Under the current system, teachers spend the first six to eight weeks of the school year getting children that don’t have books or computers in their homes back to the point where they left school in the spring. They started a volunteer program to assist these kids and to visit any homes where the children don’t return to school to encourage them to return. Another program started by his wife is Expectation Graduation that creates the belief that everyone can graduate. He stated that Texans are “ready for solutions and not more sound bites.” Mr. White expressed the need to find common ground and not divide into Red and Blue trams.During the Q & A session, Superintendent Heath of AISD expressed concerns about the state usurping local control. Communities can no longer set tax rates and are losing elective programs. Mr. White said he believed in giving the tools and responsibility to the level of management that is accountable for the results. He would not mandate to local Boards how students choose schools. He would keep public money in public school His basic beliefs about school come down to two things. Number one is that a student’s horizon should not be limited by their zip code. Number two is that parents willing to give resources to their children’s schools should not be limited.