On Tuesday, Governor Abbott came to Houston on his statewide tour to try to dismantle public education. Like PT Barnum, he continued to sell vouchers as an "opportunity" for parents even though the $8,000 voucher is not enough to cover tuition at most private schools and even though his plan would eliminate protections for many families, especially students with disabilities. Vouchers are essentially a discount plan for the wealthy.
Parents, students, and teachers protested outside the Governor's rally on Tuesday and both weekends of the sham board of managers candidate training in late April. You can listen to parent, student, and teacher speeches here.
At the protest, Amarion Porterie, a senior at Austin High School said, "The value of public education cannot be undermined.”
Teacher Sarah Rivlin stated, “If you accept voucher money to send your children to private school, you are directly harming public school children. This is not “empowerment.” This is giving some people permission to trample on other people. Frankly, Governor Abbott, I’m not sure that this message belongs in a church.”
Oni Blair, ACLU executive director and HISD kindergarten parent said, “This is about our schools. It’s also about the power of our vote, and it's our identity that's being erased. It's all tied together.”
The governor’s voucher plan and hostile HISD takeover are part of a nationwide effort to dismantle public education, to undo gains it has taken decades to obtain, and “part of a broader effort by Texas Republicans to weaken local, democratically elected government.”
CVPE members along with coalition partners from FIEL and Bridges to Empowerment disrupted Governor Abbott’s speech inside the church, “shouting 'Abbott's got to go', (public ed matters, and stop the hate) and calling him a "traitor" before they were forcibly removed by security.” Watch the video here.
Will you stay the course and fight for our children? Here are three things you can do today.
- Ask 10 friends or colleagues to sign the petition to oppose the state takeover. The petition is at houstoncvpe.org. We also have hard-copy petitions. Email [email protected] if you would like to get signatures at your next event.
- Attend the May 13th CVPE zoom meeting noon-1:30 pm. RSVP here at houstoncvpe.org/events. As part of the meeting, we will watch a clip from "A Perfect Storm: The Takeover of New Orleans Public Schools" and discuss how these two power grabs are similar and lessons we can learn.
- Save the date: June 1st at 4:30 pm at Houston ISD Hattie Mae White to protest the hostile takeover of HISD and to speak against the sham board of managers. June 1st is the first day for the unelected, unaccountable board of managers to rubber stamp Morath's agenda at the June 1st HISD Board of Managers meeting at 5 pm...in public. We can assume that the board of managers has been selected and will be meeting in secret in May. They will be skirting the open meetings requirement by "pretending" that this sham board of managers has not yet been chosen.
At the Tuesday rally, Abbott accused parents and students of being paid by lobbyists. “Ruth Kravetz, co-founder of Community Voices for Education, said CVPE ‘invites the governor to have a face-to-face meeting with the families he slandered" when he said they were "supported by lobbyists."’
"We stand united against the governor's illegitimate attempts to dismantle public education and our democracy," Kravetz said.”
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