Gov. Abbott’s education plan getting mixed reviews

(Brandon Wade/AP Images)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — If you want the scoop on what Gov. Greg Abbott wants to change in Texas schools, then look no further than his policy blueprint.

It covers everything from transportation to border security to health, and 68 pages are devoted to education.

“We think there’s some good ideas in there and we think there’s some questionable ideas in there,” said Holly Eaton, director of professional development and advocacy for the Texas Classroom Teachers Association.

The TCTA is all for Abbott’s plan for higher quality pre-kindergarten programs, which calls on the state to track results and reward schools with cash who achieve long-term success.

But the group is worried about Abbott’s solution for struggling schools. He wants to place the campuses in what’s called an achievement district, and bring someone in from the outside to run it. Eaton said the idea comes from the city of New Orleans. She calls the results there “underwhelming.”

“Our fear is that what it will do is actually decrease parent and community involvement and control of schools,” said Eaton.

In an effort to be more transparent, Abbott also wants to make it a requirement for all campuses to stick their state report card with their current rating on their website at the top of the homepage.

In his blueprint, the governor also takes aim at early education program Head Start calling it a “failing federal program” with “disappointing” results. Abbott wants parents to choose state-run pre-K instead.

“I was not aware of that,” said Linda Welsh, who is on the board of directors for Child, Inc. They are the Head Start provider for Travis County. She says recent studies show students are gaining the right skills and would like the governor to take a look at their partnerships with local school districts.

“We pair a pre-K teacher with a head start teacher so there are two teachers for 20 children,” Welsh said, “and all of those children get the comprehensive services head start provide.”

Only time will tell how Abbott’s plan will play out.

Click here to read Governor Abbott’s Bicentennial Blueprint: Greg Abbott’s Policy Plans.

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