Hispanics Organized for Political Education

TX HOPE OFFICERS TX HOPE CHAIR Joe Cardenas III TX HOPE CO-CHAIR Hector Flores TREASURER Mary Ramos PARLIAMENTARIAN Ray Mancera SECRETARY Herlinda Garcia EDUCATION CHAIR Velma Ybarra TX HOPE MEMBERS OF THE BOARD Austin - Linda Chavez -Cynthia ValadezMata Jr. Dallas - Hector Flores - Bea Martinez -Rene Martinez -Domingo Garcia El Paso - Ray Mancera - Virginia Tena Fort Worth - Hector Carrillo Garland -Koni Kaiwi Houston - Mary Almendarez - Rick Dovalina - Herlinda Garcia - Al Maldonado - Mary Ramos Odessa - Carol Uranga San Antonio - Angie Garcia - Velma Ybarra San Angelo - Elma Jacques Seguin - Paul Castillo - Gloria Sasser Victoria -Mary Lou Canales

April 15, 2013 With the recent revelation that the State intends to take $6 billion from the Rainy Day fund rather than the earlier proposed $3 billion alluded to by the Governor during his State of the State address for transportation and water “emergency needs”, it is becoming increasingly necessary to demand from all legislators that they give emergency consideration to fully funding education in Texas. The importance of the political wrangling over education in Texas is absolutely diminished if the necessary funds are not part of the equation. As a community, Latinos must demand that legislators move beyond empty political catch phrases such as “fairfunding”, “education is our number one priority”, “we measure what we treasurer”, and “what we test is what gets taught”. We must demand that our leaders debate, cast a vote, and let their actions demonstrate where their priorities lie. Latino leaders throughout the state recognize the significance of funding public education in Texas so that the end result is a quality education that is competitive for the Texas of tomorrow for all students, not just a privileged few. However, the responsibility that Latino leaders shoulder today has never been greater with regards to public education; principally because Latino students comprise 51% of all students in public schools and are projected to increase by 148% by 2050, thereby constituting the face of Texas. The state of Texas will be in the hands of Latinos and the future wellbeing of this state is dependent on the quality of education and life opportunities that we provide to this young and growing demographic today. As many bicker over the language in SB 3 or HB 5 and the outcomes and accountability measures that students, schools, and districts will be rated on, it is mere verbosity without a frank discussion on necessary funding. As revealed in the recent school finance litigation, budget cuts have hit districts hard. In sum, districts have lost approximately 12,000 teachers and 15,000 other school employees. Districts have been forced to increase class sizes, eliminate tutors and other instructional specialists, eliminate full-day pre-K programs, and implement other cost-saving measures that have negatively impacted their ability to ensure that all students meet the expectations set before them. As a public school teacher for 19 years, I am no stranger to the difference that having a well staffed and resourced school makes on the academic and life opportunities of all students, but more so for poor, Latino/a and minority students. To remain silent on the issue of Fair Funding Now means that we as leaders lose, our community loses, and Texas loses. As chairman of Texas HOPE, and as a member of the Latino Education Coalition, I have a responsibility to demand from all legislators, not just “lip-service” or catch phrases, but real action that will translate into meaningful funding for public education in Texas. Texas HOPE supports HB 3339 and the call to utilize the Rainy Day fund to fully restore education funding and ensure that all Texas students have access to a quality education.

Respectfully Submitted,

Joe Cárdenas III Texas HOPE Chairman

P.O. Box 29 • Louise Texas 77455 • (979) 332-0324 • E-mail: joey_cardenas@hotmail.com •


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