Although Attorney General Greg Abbott has been in public office for years, long enough to qualify as a career politician, his campaign for governor so far has been one, long anti-government crusade. And, don’t kid yourselves, folks. If you are anti-government, you are anti-public education.
Judging from his own rhetoric, Abbott’s proudest accomplishment as attorney general has been suing the federal government. Fortunately, he lost many of those lawsuits, including his suit to overturn the Affordable Care Act, a law designed to give millions of Americans – including thousands of Texas school children – a chance at decent health care.
So, what did Abbott do yesterday? Did he interrupt his learning-about-education tour to unveil a proposal to improve public school funding? Of course not. He is still defending the $5.4 billion that the legislative majority cut from the public education budget two years ago. Remember?
Instead, Abbott’s campaign hosted an online discussion with a policy adviser named Merrill Matthews. Although the announced subject was how to continue to fight Obamacare, Matthews also wants to wipe out direct, public funding of public schools in favor of issuing vouchers directly to parents so they can send their children to private schools at taxpayer expense.
The idea ostensibly is to give parents the “right to choose” their children’s education. But, in reality, the proposal would help finish the job the legislative majority and Abbott already have begun – shutting down neighborhood public schools.
From what I have read so far, Abbot doesn’t have a clue about the needs of public schools, the educators who work in them and the students who attend them. But what else can we expect, really, from someone running an anti-government campaign?