It’s Report Card Day for Texas Legislators … and It’s Ugly

gradesBy PTA Mom

Like many states, Texas loves grading its education system. The state has spent years slapping labels on public schools for standardized test results. We’ve labeled schools everything from “unacceptable” to “exemplary,” and next year we’ll even have a new A-F rating system used to brand our schools. Today, Texas Kids Can’t Wait turned the tables and labeled Texas’ state legislators by grading their support of public education in their first bi-annual legislative report card.

Texas Kids Can’t Wait is a statewide public education advocacy group founded by Democrats and Republicans to encourage equity, excellence, and adequacy for Texas’ students. The grassroots group works to educate citizens about challenges facing their schools and encourages legislative action to strengthen public education in Texas. After generations of school funding lawsuits, more than a decade of over-testing, and subversive attempts to undermine public schools through privatization efforts, Texas Kids Can’t Wait recognizes that Texas’ children don’t have the time to wait for legislators to find the political courage and will to finally do right by their schools. You can find more information about Texas Kids Can’t Wait here.

Using the same labels once used to grade public schools, (exemplary, recognized, acceptable, and unacceptable) the report card examines votes on 22 key bills from the last legislative session to identify each legislator’s support of public education issues. A team of researchers at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor evaluated voting records related to funding, privatization, various school voucher schemes, accountability and assessment, charter school expansion, and other education issues.

And the results? Let’s just say some of your elected representatives need to spend some time in summer school. According to Dr. Bonnie Lesley, co-founder of Texas Kids Can’t Wait, “What we saw in all these bills was a strong attack by about one-third of the legislators in the House and about one-fourth of the Senate on the vast majority of Texas’s five million public school students, on local control, on local school boards and educators, and on the whole concept of the common good.”

Here are some breakdowns of the ratings:

  • Unacceptable ratings were earned by 34% of House Representatives and 23% of Senators.
  • Positive ratings of Exemplary and Recognized were earned by 28% of House Representatives and 32% of Senators.
  • Senator Dan Patrick, Chair of the Senate Education Committee and current candidate for Lieutenant Governor, received the lowest ranking of any legislator in either chamber.
  • The strongest ranking in either chamber was earned by Senator Jose Rodriguez.
  • Representative Jimmie Don Aycock and Speaker Joe Straus received accolades for strong leadership in support of public education in the 83rd session.

How did your elected representative do? See the chart at the end of this blog.

So, what can you do with this data?

  • If you’re unhappy with your representative’s grade, ask them to explain why they didn’t make public education a priority last session. Encourage them to support public education issues in the future. You can find your state representative here.
  • If your representative’s grade doesn’t indicate a strong record for public education, re-consider your support or vote.
  • Seek and support pro-public education legislators. Thank them for their commitment to our schools.
  • Let legislators know that public education issues drive your voting decisions. (Education is one of the top issues facing the state according to polling data of Texans.)
  • Learn and share the names of the legislators who earned Unacceptable ratings. These are the politicians that seek to undermine public schools as demonstrated by their abysmal voting records. Let them know you will fight their attacks on the public education system that serves five million Texas children and employs 400,000 Texas teachers.
  • Be vocal in support of public education issues and legislation.
  • Above all — VOTE! Don’t miss a primary or general election. Texas’ students are counting on you.

There was a time, not so long ago, when it was expected that elected officials would support education. It was viewed as an important commitment to our future; vital to economic development. But times have changed, and today many for-profit and special interests have sought to undermine public education through a variety of legislative attacks. The outcome of those efforts is evident in this report card.

That’s why it has never been more critical to carefully evaluate legislators to ensure those who earn your vote will represent the interests of our children, our schools, and our teachers. Legislators without the foresight to see the disastrous impact a struggling public education system will have on Texas’ long-term economic future are not serving Texas’ interests. Legislators who ignore chronic over-testing and under-funding are not worthy of your support. It’s high time they’re sent home with a clear message that Texans demand better.

It’s time to support an education system worthy of a state like Texas. And it’s time to elect legislators committed to delivering it.

Texas Kids Can’t Wait Bi-Annual Legislative Report Card

House of Representatives – 83rd Legislative Session  

Representatives are listed alphabetically. For a listing based on ratings within each category as well as an understanding of the methodology used, please visit here.

Ratings Legislators
Exemplary
(7 of 150 representatives)
Collier, Nicole (District 95)
Farias, Joe (District 118)
Herrero, Abel (District 34)
Martinez Fischer, Trey (District 116)
Munoz, Jr., Sergio (District 36)
Pitts, Jim (District 10)
Reynolds, Ron (District 27)
Recognized
(35 of 150 representatives)
Allen, Alma (District 131)
Alonzo, Roberto (District 104)
Ashby, Trent (District 57)
Aycock, Jimmie Don (District 54)
Burnam, Lon (District 90)
Callegari, Bill (District 132)
Canales, Terry (District 40)
Cortez, Philip (District 117)
Dukes, Dawnna (District 46)
Farrar, Jessica (District 148)
Giddings, Helen (District 109)
Gonzalez, Mary (District 75)
Gutierrez, Roland (District 119)
Howard, Donna (District 48)
Huberty, Dan (District 127)
Longoria, Oscar (District 35)
Martinez, Armando (District 39)
McClendon, Ruth Jones (District 120)
Miles, Borris (District 146)
Moody, Joe (District 78)
Nevarez, Poncho (District 74)
Oliveira, Rene (District 37)
Patrick, Diane (District 94)
Perez, Mary Ann (District 144)
Phillips, Larry (District 62)
Price, Four (District 87)
Rodriguez, Eddie (District 51)
Rodriguez, Justin (District 125)
Rose, Toni (District 110)
Sheffield, J. D.  (District 59)
Straus, Joe (District 121, Speaker)
Thompson, Senfronia (District 141)
Turner, Sylvester (District 129)
Vo, Hubert (District 149)
Walle, Armando (District 140)
Acceptable
(57 of 150 representatives)
Alvarado, Carol (District 145)
Anderson, Charles (District 56)
Bonnen, Dennis (District 25)
Coleman, Garnet (District 147)
Cook, Byron (District 8)
Crownover, Myra (District 64)
Darby, Drew (District 72)
Davis, Sarah (District 124)
Davis, Yvonne (District 111)
Deshotel, Joe (District 22)
Dutton, Jr., Harold (District 142)
Eiland, Craig (District 23)
Farney, Marsha (District 20)
Frullo, John (District 84)
Geren, Charlie (District 99)
Gonzales, Larry (District 52)
Gonzalez, Naomi (District 76)
Guerra, Bobby (District 41)
Guillen, Ryan (District 31)
Harless, Patricia (District 126)
Hernandez, Ana (District 143)
Hunter, Todd (District 32)
Johnson, Eric (District 100)
Kacal, Kyle (District 12)
Keffer, James (District 60)
King, Ken (District 88)
King, Susan (District 71)
King, Tracy (District 80)
Kleinschmidt, Tim (District 17)
Kuempel, John (District 44)
Larson, Lyle (District 122)
Lewis, Tryon (District 81)
Lozano, J. M. (District 43)
Marquez, Marisa (District 77)
Menendez, Jose (District 124)
Miller, Doug (District 73)
Murphy, Jim (District 133)
Naishtat, Elliott (District 49)
Orr, Rob (District 58)
Otto, John (District 18)
Paddie, Chris (District 9)
Perry, Charles (District 83)
Pickett, Joe (District 79)
Raney, John (District 14)
Ratliff, Bennett (District 115)
Raymond, Richard (District 42)
Sheffield, Ralph (District 55)
Smith, Wayne (District 128)
Stephenson, Phil (District 85)
Strama, Mark (District 50)
Turner, Chris (District 101)
Villalba, Jason (District 114)
Villarreal, Mike (District 123)
White, James (District 19)
Workman, Paul (District 47)
Wu, Gene (District 137)
Zerwas, John (District 28)
Unacceptable
(51 of 150 representatives)
Anchia, Rafael (District 103)
Bell, Cecil(District 3)
Bohac, Dwayne (District 138)
Bonnen, Greg (District 24)
Branch, Dan (District 108)
Burkett, Cindy (District 113)
Button, Angie Chen (District 112)
Capriglione, Giovanni (District 98)
Carter, Stefani (District 102)
Clardy, Travis (District 11)
Craddick, Tom (District 82)
Creighton, Brandon (District 16)
Dale, Tony (District 136)
Davis, John E. (District 129)
Elkins, Gary (District 135)
Fallon, Pat (District 106)
Fletcher, Allen (District 130)
Flynn, Dan (District 2)
Frank, James (District 69)
Goldman, Craig (District 97)
Gooden, Lance (District 4)
Harper-Brown, Linda (District 105)
Hilderbran, Harvey (District 53)
Hughes, Bryan (District 5)
Issac, Jason (District 45)
King, Phil (District 61)
Klick, Stephanie (District 91)
Kolkhorst, Lois (District 13)
Krause, Matt (District 93)
Laubenberg, Jodie (District 89)
Lavender, George (District 1)
Leach, Jeff (District 67)
Lucio III, Eddie (District 38)
Miller, Rick (District 26)
Morrison, Geanie W. (District 30)
Parker, Tan (District 63)
Riddle, Debbie (District 150)
Ritter, Allan (District 21)
Sanford, Scott (District 70)
Schaefer, Matt (District 6)
Sheets, Kenneth (District 107)
Simmons, Ron (District 65)
Simpson, David (District 7)
Smithee, John (District 86)
Springer, Drew (District 68)
Stickland, Jonathan (District 92)
Taylor, Van (District 66)
Thompson, Ed (District 29)
Toth, Steve (District 15)
Turner, Scott (District 33)
Zedler, Bill (District 96)

Senate – 83rd Legislative Session

Senators are listed alphabetically. For a listing based on ratings within each category as well as an understanding of the methodology used, please visit here. 

Ratings Legislators
Exemplary
(2 of 31 senators)
Garcia, Sylvia (District 6)
Rodriguez, Jose (District 29)
Recognized
(9 of 31 senators)
Deuell, Bob (District 2)
Davis, Wendy (District 10)
Ellis, Rodney (District 13)
Nichols, Robert (District 3)
Seliger, Kel (District 31)
Uresti, Carlos (District 19)
Watson, Kirk (District 14)
Williams, Tommy (District 4)
Zaffirini, Judith (District 21)
Acceptable
(13 of 31 senators)
Carona, John (District 16)
Duncan, Robert (District 28)
Eltife, Kevin (District 1)
Estes, Craig (District 30)
Fraser, Tony (District 24)
Hancock, Kelly (District 9)
Hinojosa, Juan “Chuy” (District 20)
Huffman, Joan (District 17)
Lucio, Eddie (District 27)
Nelson, Jane (District 12)
Schwertner, Charles (District 5)
Van de Putte, Leticia (District 26)
Whitmire, John (District 15)
Unacceptable
(7of 31 senators)
Birdwell, Brian (District 22)
Campbell, Donna (District 25)
Hegar, Glenn (District 18)
Paxton, Ken (District 8)
Patrick, Dan (District 7)
Taylor, Larry (District 11)
West, Royce (District 23)
Dewhurst, David (Lt. Governor)

 

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