But, our state constitution is clear on the issue of public education. The opening line of Article 7 states, “A general diffusion of knowledge being essential to the preservation of the liberties and rights of the people, it shall be the duty of the Legislature of the State to establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools."
In regards to textbooks, section 3 (b) states, “It shall be the duty of the State Board of Education to set aside a sufficient amount of available funds to provide free text books for the use of children attending the public free schools of this State. “
In addition, the 1973 federal IDEA law maintains that it is the responsibility of the states to provide, “free and appropriate education for all students.” This is backed by a Supreme Court ruling that does not allow a state to prevent a student from attending a public school due to their immigration status (Plyler v. Doe, 2003).
Throughout history, the State of Texas has worked to protect public education and the actions of the federal government often have done the same (Brown vs. Board of Education, IDEA, Civil Rights Act 1964, 1968). As we enter a new era of discontent with our government, it is clear that instead of taking action against public education, we should take actions for public education, even if they come with a cost. The entry of Latinos into the state does not present to me an opportunity for resentment, fear, or more laws to prevent progress, it presents a chance to embrace the rich heritage of a group that has worked to build and defend our state and to seek to expand the potential minds of young Hispanics who simply seek they same as their immigrant parents: opportunity.