Those who claim that there are no differences between the major parties in Texas are ignoring many of the important issues this state faces, chief among them the importance of public education.
The resolutions on the party ballots for this just-finished primary election should be enough to convince anyone that these are two very different approaches to this important subject. A large majority of Republicans voters voted for a proposition to fund private education institutions with public funds, but no amount of corporate welfare for private institutions will fix our public education system.
Additionally, 94% of Republicans also voted on a referendum “limiting any increase in government spending to the combined increase of population and inflation,” despite the fact that Texas Republican lawmakers cut funding for public education by $5.4 billion during the last legislative session. This resolution strongly contradicts any claims that Republicans intend to correct this egregious error.
See the interactive map below of every Republican state legislator who voted for these massive cuts:
As of March 2012, this gutting of the public education system in Texas has resulted in over 25,000 school employees losing their jobs, including more than 10,700 teaching jobs. In April, The New York Times addressed these effects in detail.
Meanwhile, an overwhelming majority of Democrats voted for common sense referenda on their primary ballot, such as:
“Because a college education is increasingly necessary for jobs that allow our citizens to achieve middle class lifestyles and become the entrepreneurs who create the jobs that our economy relies on, we call on the Texas Legislature to fund colleges and universities such that tuition and fees can be affordable to all Texans.”
We recognize that funding education – both K-12 and higher – is an essential task not only required by the Texas Constitution but also by basic ethical standards. Democratic leaders fought for the rights of teachers and students everywhere during the last legislative session, and we are united against the policies that hurt, rather than help, our public education system.