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Educators Pounce on Abbott, Push for Expanded Pre-K

Yesterday, Republican candidate for Texas Governor Greg Abbott released a proposal to improve early childhood education in Texas.

During a press conference, Abbott said expanding state-funded pre-kindergarten programs without addressing the quality of instruction “would be an act of negligence and waste.”

Today, educators from groups endorsing Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis gathered in front of north Austin's Lucy Read Pre-kindergarten School to say that expanding pre-k is "not a waste."

Abbott’s plan would grant an additional $1500 per pre-k student in districts that agree to meet new “gold” standards, a determination that would be made through testing and other assessments. Louis Malfaro, secretary-treasurer of the American Federation of Teachers' Texas chapter, says the last thing pre-k students need is more testing. 

“Yes, we embrace high standards. However, we don’t think that means we should not invest on a platform where we know high standards already exist,” Malfaro said.

Rita Haecker, president of the Texas State Teachers Association, said if Abbott is serious about supporting education, he should stop defending the Texas Legislature's 2011 cut to pre-k programs in court. 

“Calling PreK education of all Texan students a waste is an insult to our students, our parents, our community, and our state," said Education Austin's Montserrat Garibay.

KUT has asked Greg Abbott’s campaign for a response to the groups' statements.

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