Our nation is rooted in the belief that all Americans deserve an equal opportunity to achieve the American dream. In today’s world, a quality education is crucial to the realization of that dream. We are blessed to live in a country that promises every child access to a free public education, and we should be proud that Texas universities are regarded as some of the finest in the world. However, despite the great achievements of the past, our state can still do better.
We must fully fund education in Texas. With over five billion dollars in cuts to Texas Education system in 2011, school districts (especially in South Texas), are struggling to make ends meet. I am committed to restoring the cuts made to education so our children can graduate from high school, go to college, and reach their full potential.
Essential to any successful education reforms are the men and women who dedicate their lives to educating our youth: our teachers, school administrators, and school employees. Rather than stigmatizing the profession and punishing teachers for outcomes that may be beyond their control, teachers deserve to be better paid and better trained so that we do not lose our nation’s talented, young graduates to more lucrative professions.
Of course, a quality education begins at home, which is why it is also important to involve parents in their children’s education. Our schools and policy makers need to make use of the indispensable resources that parents can provide their children.
Within my district is University of Texas Pan-American, the premier learning institution of the Rio Grande Valley, and one of the finest universities in the country. It is “The Shining Star of South Texas.”
While we work to strengthen our K-12 educational system, the Texas Legislature cannot ignore that a college education is becoming cost-prohibitive and therefore difficult to afford. A college degree is unquestionably one of the most important factors in determining the long-term future of both individuals and our state as a whole. Therefore, a college degree should be accessible to anyone who desires to attain it.
As such, more grants and low-interest student loans should be made available to our next generation of teachers, scientists, and business entrepreneurs. We can no longer think of a college degree as a luxury reserved to those able to afford it. Post-secondary education has now become a necessity to simply participate in today’s ever-changing global society.