More education policy from Davis

A lot to like here.

Sen. Wendy Davis

Sen. Wendy Davis

Saying she wants to expand Texas high schoolers’ access to technical job training programs, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis announced a plan to create a Career-Technical Coordinating Board.

The plan is the latest in a string of education reform proposals from Davis. It also includes recommendations on college affordability and improving graduation rates.

Davis promoted the proposal Tuesday at an event in San Antonio, saying she hoped to build cooperation among “local industries, community and technical colleges” in helping prepare Texas students for the the technical jobs of the future, according to the proposal.

“At the very time when we need an educated workforce to lead the economy of the future, we need to put quality education within reach for Texas families,” Davis said.

The campaign of her Republican opponent, Greg Abbott, noted that Davis’ proposal did not mention how much the plan would cost.

“Sen. Davis continues to present talking points and press releases dressed as policy proposals that contain few details, lack any cost information and will grow the size of government,” said Amelia Chassé, an Abbott campaign spokeswoman. “If this were an assignment, her grade would be ‘incomplete.’ Texans deserve a leader that presents real solutions, not more slogans and fuzzy math.”

Davis said she would work with the Legislature to “find the resources in existing resources to be able to carry forth” the proposal.

See also this subsequent Trib story for more details. Stace, who liked what he saw especially on higher education, correctly predicted the “how much will it cost?” reaction, though to be honest it wasn’t that hard to see it coming. The irony here is that much of what Davis is calling for, and what Lt. Gov. candidate Leticia Van de Putte has called for in her proposal to subsidize community college directly addresses a lot of the things that the business community through mouthpieces like Bill Hammond says it wants. They just don’t want to have to pay for any of it. You’ll see that reflected when Greg Abbott gets around to releasing his education plan after Labor Day. It will, I am certain, be full of things like higher standards, greater accountability, more ways for people to move their children to other schools, and maybe a few other shiny objects, but not a dime of new spending, no assistance for the many, many students who need it to graduate or to be able to afford any kind of higher education, and no mention of how any of those standards or accountability measures can be achieved at current – or, hopefully for Abbott, lower – funding levels. Everyone just needs to work smarter, that’s all that it takes. Davis’ press release with the full outline of her plan, and a release from Battleground Texas about her plan, are beneath the fold, and BOR has more.

UPDATE: This DMN story from day two of Davis’ release touches on paying for her proposals.

Wendy Davis acknowledged Wednesday that her proposals to improve public schools will cost more money, but she said revenue is available if lawmakers will make education a priority and eliminate some corporate tax breaks.

“We need a governor who will lead the Legislature in a bipartisan way to find the smart ways to create that investment,” said Davis, the Democratic nominee, at an Austin news conference.

Davis said that because of Texas’ booming economy, budget writers next year are expected to have a $4 billion surplus and billions more in the state rainy day fund.

She said that existing revenue, coupled with “closing corporate tax loopholes that have been on the books in Texas for decades,” should provide lawmakers with the money needed to balance the budget and boost funding for education without new taxes.

Republican nominee Greg Abbott says his Democratic opponent would raise taxes if elected governor.

Asked what corporate tax breaks she would close, Davis’ campaign cited as an example property tax breaks for greenbelts used exclusively for recreation and parks, including private country clubs. Another tax break targeted by the Davis campaign is $111 million a year the state loses by rewarding large stores for paying their sales taxes on time.

Davis said she and Abbott offer “starkly different paths for our state” on investment in public schools.

It’s going to take more than that to fully fund all the things she’s talking about, but those items are a start, and they have the advantage of being good policy on their own. The story also reminds us that the state may soon be under a court order to find more money for education, so it sure would be nice if someone were thinking along these lines.

Davis Announces Proposal to Make College More Affordable for all Texans
San Antonio, TX: Today in San Antonio, Wendy Davis announced her proposal to make college more affordable and expand educational opportunities for all Texans.

“Educating our children is about creating the jobs of tomorrow and strengthening our economy for decades to come,” said Wendy Davis. “I’ve seen firsthand the doors that education can throw open. That’s why I led the fight to make our colleges more accessible and affordable and worked to create more high-quality universities.”

Davis outlined her proposal to improve opportunities for students and adults to get the technical training they need, make financial aid more available and college costs more transparent, create programs that encourage students to complete their degree, and renew the state’s efforts to create more Tier One universities.

“We made this state strong by investing in our schools and making them affordable,” said Davis. “At the very time when we need an educated workforce to lead the economy of the future, we need to put quality education within reach for Texas families.”

Davis compared her proposal to invest more in our schools so that children are better prepared for the future with Greg Abbott’s record of fighting against more than 600 school districts in court.

“For too long, the insider network in Austin has left our schools underfunded, understaffed and our children undervalued,” added Davis. “Greg Abbott has been in court, defending over $5 billion in cuts to more than 600 Texas school districts and the children who go to those schools. That means overcrowded classrooms, thousands of teachers being laid off, schools being closed down, and our sons and daughters missing out on opportunities that will prepare them for the 21st century.”

As Governor, Wendy Davis will work hard for every Texan to have the same higher education opportunities that made such a difference in her own life. She will ensure that Texans are prepared for jobs today and careers tomorrow. Specifically, Wendy will:

  • Create Educational Opportunities for all Texans
    • Create a Career-Technical Coordinating Board to facilitate coordination among local industries, community and technical colleges, and public high schools and streamline the entry of Texas students into 21st century technical jobs.
    • Improve Adult Education and Literacy programs to make it easier for Texans to transition from adult education to the workforce.
  • Make College Affordable
    • Commit to achieving full funding for the TEXAS Grant program to improve education accessibility and affordability for Texas families.
    • Work with the Texas Prepaid Higher Education Tuition Board to ensure the Texas Tuition Promise fund remains a reliable saving tool for Texas families by improving program outreach and public awareness efforts.
    • Improve accessibility to the B-On-Time low interest loan program, including opening the program to part-time students.
    • Establish a sales tax exemption program for college students’ textbooks to lessen the cost of higher education for hardworking students and families.
  • Improve Graduation and Retention Rates
    • Encourage Texas schools to experiment with programs aimed at assisting first and second year students to navigate the personal and academic challenges they will face as they transition into higher education.
  • Expand the Number of Texas Universities Ranked at Tier One Status
    • Continue to support and encourage Tier One initiatives to ensure Texas creates more world-class research universities.


FORT WORTH – On the heels of the release this morning of Senator Wendy Davis’ higher education policy – which includes four platforms to help make college education accessible and affordable for every Texan – Battleground Texas called attention to the key role that students on college campuses are playing in the high-profile fight for the Governor’s Mansion this November.

“The choice for students in this election couldn’t be more clear. While Wendy Davis is working to ensure students have the opportunity to succeed, Greg Abbott is focused on helping his inner circle get ahead. It’s no wonder there are already more than a thousand students on campuses across the state organizing to help Senator Davis win this November,” said Jenn Brown, Battleground Texas Executive Director. “We hear from students every day who identify with Senator Davis’ personal story – how she worked hard to put herself through school and earn the education that turned her life around. I got my start organizing students during my college years, and it’s inspiring to see so many Texas students who have been moved by Wendy’s smart approach to improving education now working hard to help Wendy win in 2014.”

Team Wendy will have organizers at 25 college and university campuses across Texas, all of whom have already started working with student volunteer leaders. Volunteers will be registering students to vote, educating voters on voter ID requirements and how to cast a ballot, making sure students turn up at the polls, holding events such as rallies and voter registration tailgates, and more.

Organizing on college campuses is vital for building a grassroots movement that engages people who have historically been underrepresented in the electorate. The program will focus on voter registration and turning out the vote: a crucial focus for a population of first-time voters such as students.

Organizers will be based at University of Texas at Austin, Baylor University, Texas State University, Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University, Prairie View A&M University, University of Texas Pan American, University of Texas at Brownsville, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Del Mar College, McLennan Community College, the University of Texas at El Paso, the University of Texas at San Antonio, University of North Texas, the University of Texas at Arlington, the University of Texas at Dallas, El Paso Community College, Texas Christian University, University of Houston, Texas State Technical College, South Texas College, San Antonio Community College, Lamar University, Texas Southern University and Rice University.

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2 Responses to More education policy from Davis

  1. Ross says:

    Repealing the lower property appraisal for recreational properties is a bad idea, since it doesn’t cost that much, and is not widely available. It only applies to properties owned by non-profits, and requires a deed restriction that limits the use of the property for at least 10 years. Dropping the reduced property appraisal would likely result in many of the properties being sold for development with the commensurate loss of open and green space.

    Another issue is how much of the new revenue would actually stay in the districts where the affected properties lie.

    I applaud Davis’ desire to increase school funding, but there are far better ways to do it than by removing incentives to maintain green space. How about an effective business tax, for instance?

  2. Ross says:

    I should probably add that many golf clubs are organized as non-profit corporations with members, and are set up to not not distribute any profits to members. They can also qualify as tax exempt organizations with the IRS, generally as social clubs under section 501(c)7 of the tax code. The tax returns for such entities are public record, and can be viewed online via

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