We tuned in to Lt. Gov.-elect Dan Patrick’s press conference this week to hear what he would have to say about his agenda for public education. His priorities include:
–Private-school vouchers—or, as he prefers to say, “school choice.”
–Accountability ratings for campuses using letter grades from A to F.
–New reading programs to help students read on grade level by fourth grade.
–“Remedial programs that work” (whatever that means—we have a call in to Patrick’s staff to help us decode that phrase).
–More funding for the controversial Teach for America program that funnels lightly trained college grads into full-fledged classroom teaching assignments.
–More funding for career education in middle schools.
–Funding for scholarships for college math and science majors who commit four years to teach in shortage areas.
–Reducing the burden of college tuition costs on students, by unspecified means.
–Support for “senators who want to end in-state tuition” at state colleges for students who are long-time residents of Texas but who are not here as authorized immigrants. (Current Texas law, adopted with bipartisan support in 2001, bases in-state tuition eligibility on Texas residency, not citizenship/immigration status.)