Sanchez takes part in Texas Tribune panel on education – Plainview Daily Herald | Team Cansler

Sanchez participated in a panel titled Education Opportunities For All with three other panelists, including Russell Lowery-Hart, President of Amarillo College, JuliAnn Mazachek, President of Midwestern State University, and State Representative Ken King, Republican Representative for House District 88.

The panel touched on several public education issues including truancy, safety measures, school funding and ways to bridge the gap with higher education.

The first major topic discussed by the panel discussion was school safety and security.

The Uvalde tragedy in May 2022 prompted the Texas public school system to evaluate safety requirements for districts and put safety discussions back in the spotlight.

When asked how lawmakers can help districts avoid a similar tragedy, Sanchez said it was an issue Plainview ISD had struggled with.

“What I have to say is that we cannot react knee-jerk,” he said. “There has to be a degree of appropriateness.”

Right now, Sanchez said, school officials across the state are awaiting state-mandated safety protocol tests.

“I’m just asking for a level of sanity because there isn’t a school board, principal or teacher who doesn’t want their children to be safe,” he said. “I sometimes think that this hyperbole takes us to a place where we create excessive anxiety and fear in our teachers and in our children, and they are unable to focus on the task at hand, which is to educate young people.”

Moderator Nic Garcia, regional editor of the Texas Tribune, then took the question to House Representative Ken King, R-District 88. He asked what/if the legislature was thinking about school safety funding.

“I believe school security should be an emergency,” King said.

It shouldn’t be one size fits all, he said.

School safety should be looked at in a number of ways, including school hardening – which he says means something different for every school leader – as well as mental health and truancy. Funding, he said, is the cornerstone.

Garcia first shifted the conversation to funding and truancy.

School leaders have advocated for real attendance, Sanchez said. Funding should be based on enrollment, not attendance.

“If the students don’t show up or come, we still have to pay the teacher. We have to pay the administrators. We have to pay for the lights,” he said. “None of that changes because 94% of students show up on any given day. We have to fund the system for 100% of the students.”

King said that makes sense. He was a member of the Texas Commission on Virtual Education for the past year, and enrollment-based funding is an issue that has come up.

“We are in the process of proposing new legislation on how we will fund virtual education in our public schools,” King said. “The idea of ​​enrollment-based funding really came to the fore for me because there is no way I want to create two funding systems. We have a shortage of teachers, we have a shortage of counselors, we have a shortage of test coordinators, we have a shortage of janitors. We can’t create an additional funding system and require school districts to hire someone to manage that.”

The conversation then shifted to customer loyalty and voucher systems.

“How do you respond to this criticism that your work on the Legislature is threatening teachers with unemployment?” asked Garcia.

King said that keeping educators happy is always a challenge. He briefly mentioned the debates on critical race theory, the move to a voucher system, and focused his response on weeding out bad teachers and celebrating the good ones.

Sanchez followed up with a response that focused on his opposition to moving to a voucher system and the importance of ensuring funding for education.

Draining funds from public education could hurt districts, Sanchez said.

Through this model, families can request vouchers from their public school district that would deduct the amount of money the district would receive for their child’s attendance and allow parents to apply that amount toward tuition at a private school.

“If you think about us moving to a voucher system where parents can decide whether or not to use those funds for public education, think about how that’s what is already a challenge with inflation, teacher shortages , was, further debilitate ,” he explained.

Leave a Comment