Weatherford Democrat

Viewpoints

February 10, 2013

RIGUES: Making education a priority at the federal level

By BOBBY J. RIGUES

The National School Boards Association’s 40th annual Federal Relations Network Conference was recently held in Washington, D.C. More than 700 school board members and school boards association leaders from across the nation were present for the three-day conference. The main objective was to urge our U.S. Congress to make public education a top priority.   

As a community, most are familiar with the issues involving our local school district. At the state level, public education continues to make headlines. Since 2005, the broken system of school finance, equity and adequacy issues, $5.4 billion in educational cuts, and the largest education lawsuit have all been front page topics. Complicating matters, the current 83rd Legislative Session will find legislators introducing vouchers, taxpayer credits, charter schools, and other divisive options. 

There is awareness by school board members concerning the growing threats to diminish our latitude of local control. Being knowledgeable of local and state educational issues is no longer sufficient to protecting our public schools.

Understanding educational issues at the national level has become equally critical. Beginning with our own school districts, protecting the value of public education and the pursuit for quality public schools is a battle cry across our nation. 

Members of a community – mothers and fathers, grandparents, neighbors, business owners, local citizens of every type are all equal owners of our local public schools. Being informed about local, state, and federal policies that affect our children’s education actually protects our public educational system.  

The Honorable Congresswoman Kay Granger, District 12 represents the western half of Tarrant County and all of Parker and Wise Counties. This includes 20 public school districts and a hand full of charter schools.  Visiting with her Senior Policy Advisor Theresa Vawter, a line of communication for future dialogue was established and several key educational issues were discussed.    

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