HOUSTON – Education: It’s become the latest buzz word in the race for Texas governor. And Monday, it was said often at state Sen. Wendy Davis’ rally in Houston as she touted her education plan.
“I am a big believer in pre-K,” said Davis.
She tore down her opponent Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s plan.
“It’s a plan that will leave some children behind,” said Davis. “I believe no child is a waste.”
Supporters waved signs saying just that.
It’s the Davis campaign’s latest attempt to use Abbott’s own words against him. Abbott believes “expanding access to pre-K without improving quality would be an act of negligence and waste.”
“Pre-K works and full-day pre-K works better than half-day pre-K,” said Davis.
Both candidates are trying to prove who’s a stronger supporter of pre-K and working to show they care more about Texas kids.
“I think it’s absurd to say I don’t care about kids in Texas,” said Davis, responding to a question about Abbott’s claims against her.
The two candidates’ plans could not be more different. Abbott wants to focus on improving the quality of existing state funded pre-K. That cost is $118 million, but that funding would be tied to performance via standardized testing for 4-year-olds.
“When parents are calling for less testing, Greg Abbott wants more, subjecting 4-year-olds to another state-mandated intrusive requirement,” said Davis.
Davis said she wants to expand pre-K all together to full days. That price tag would be $750 million.
“Texas voters have some picking and some choosing to do of their own this fall,” said Davis.
Her message played well in a friendly crowd Monday, but both candidates know Election Day is still seven months off. That’s plenty of time to educate voters.
Abbott’s campaign released the following statement Monday afternoon:
“Greg Abbott’s pre-k plan does not impose more tests on 4-year-olds and suggestions to the contrary are absurd. The quality of Greg Abbott’s pre-K 4 plan is revealed by the fact that Sen. Davis cannot attack it on its merits, instead she has to mischaracterize it.
“Instead, Greg Abbott’s pre-k 4 plan creates a higher quality program so that all children in Texas will be on an early path to academic success. Building a better pre-k system requires gathering information — not imposing new tests — to provide better learning opportunities for school children in their earliest years.
“Greg Abbott’s plan to elevate Texas schools to be ranked number one in the country includes a plan to create the most advanced pre-k 4 program in America. Sen. Davis, on the other hand, simply advocates spending billions of dollars on the status quo.
“Greg Abbott’s plan will provide additional funding to programs that meet high standards and give local schools flexibility to achieve those high standards – allowing them to be laboratories of education innovation and to use what works and discard what doesn’t work.”