Rally focuses on school issues

AUSTIN (KXAN) — State testing, school funding and vouchers, all of which are subjects educators and politicians are debating over.

On Saturday morning, hundreds of people showed up to the State Capitol today to make sure their voices are heard.

On the south side of the Capitol, the more organized Save Texas Schools group. The group is pleading with lawmakers to cut back testing and speed up restoration of millions of dollars lawmakers cut from classrooms last session.

"Two years ago may well be our Alamo, but this year may be our San Jacinto," said a man with Save Texas Schools.

On the north side, a less rowdy and much smaller crowd.

"We don't think the education system needs more money," said Robert Schoolfield, President of Texans For Parental Choice in Education, "What they need is for the money to be spent more wisely."

Their message: Let parents send their kids to public, private or charter schools with taxpayer funded scholarships.

"We have too many kids in failing schools with no way out so what's the solution?" asked Nathan Ofe with Empower Texans and Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. "It's choice."

This idea doesn't sit well with everyone.

"The efforts to say we're going to commodotize and marketize education - here's your ticket, go find an education somewhere else," said Louis Malfaro with the American Federation of Teachers. "The state isn't going to be on the hook for that. It is an advocation of the constitutional responsibility of the state legislature and an failure to fulfill its duty."

In the crowd, there are still some educators trying to find out where they stand on the issues.

"I'm definitely here for the kids, but I'm also here for understanding the system more and what is my place in creating systematic change," said Jan Karydas, an Austin teacher.


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