This is my son. His mother and he woke bright and early this morning to protest the cuts in education that the students of the state of Texas are facing.
With 500+ other protesters who marched through the Capitol rotunda, he carried a sign, chanted The Eyes of Texas are Upon You, and stood outside the appropriations committee room yelling, chanting, and letting legislators know that their cuts to education are a shame.
He will be 4 in August.
He got a real education today. He learned about voting, what it means to take a stand for an issue, and that passion can lead people to take action. He watched his mother give a passionate, heartfelt speech about education, he experienced interviews from the media, and he watched anger and rage explode in the historic building.
Sadly, I was not there to support him as I worked today in my own school, wrapping up the year, and preparing for the next. But, as I sat in my office, said good-bye to teachers, and wrapped up my final paperwork for the year; I began to think deeply about the grim future that the state legislature is creating for the students of Texas.
Texas is the fastest growing state in the U.S. and will be in the bottom five of states that fund education. The state has gained 80,000 new students since 2005, yet the state created a tax deficit that has not increased revenue for schools and school districts are being forced to provide a constitutionally required service to the citizens of the state with fewer dollars. Now, they are receiving even less.
The Texas Senate voted to cut education across the board at a cost of $4 billion. That is $4 billion less for salaries, supplies, electricity, football helmets, benefits, etc; everything a school district needs to provide for students.
My son and wife left the capital this afternoon tired, hot, and drained of their energy in an effort to fight for a worthy cause. They lost this round. But, as they reminded the legislators in their protests:
“We’re constituents, we vote, and we don’t forget.”