Texas is in the news again, and in less-than-good ways. We’ve got the school districts suing the state. We’ve got health professionals pointing out there is a multi-billion IOU for Medicaid health care. It all has a lot of people, and especially parents of children (who bear the brunt of all this), thinking there’s got to be a better way.
That better way is the focus of a new petition telling Texas state leaders to move forward for our state and especially its children. The petition’s organizers are seeking at least 10,000 signatures in the three months between now and when the legislature convenes, and you can help.
You probably know by now that, last year, legislators made steep cuts to public education. Texas already was one of the places investing the least in kids, and then it started spending billions less–on education, health care, and a whole lot more that affects children. Nearly half of all the tax dollars the state receives directly help children, and that gives you get a feel for what a big deal last year’s huge cuts amounted to for families. (Want more idea of what happened? See how your school district would have fared this year without the budget cuts.)
With another legislative session around the corner and talk already coming from state leaders about further squeezes on our schools and services, a group called Texas Forward is seeking those 10,000 signatures on a petition that calls for a different approach. Supporting the schools, roads, and hospitals in our communities, the petition suggests, doesn’t have to mean higher taxes on the average Texan. There is money the state has on hand due to past accounting errors and it has its own savings, not to mention the money it never asks for from certain special interests.
Because more than a handful of Texas leaders have been pitting health care and education against one another, the petition also points out that it isn’t Medicaid, which serves primarily kids, that hurts public education. Short-sighted choices do.
As Texas grows, we need to pay attention to whether Texans have a safe, secure, and healthy future. If you’re interested in that, please do sign the petition and tell a few others about it, too. Texas leaders need to hear that their job isn’t to drag our schools and health care backwards; it’s to move them forward. As one advocate put it, “because the good old days don’t belong in our classrooms.”
Written by: Christine Sinatra