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Superintendents From North Texas Give Sen. Cornyn Their Take On New Education Law

Bill Zeeble
U.S. Senator John Cornyn (cntr) surrounced by four top North Texas Superintendents. They are (clockwise, from closest to us) Fort Worth's Kent Scribner, Arlington's Marcelo Cavazos, Irving's Jose Parra and Dallas' Michael Hinojosa

Dallas Superintendent Michael Hinojosa and three other North Texas superintendents met with U.S. Senator John Cornyn in Dallas today. They all gave their two cents on the new federal education law, agreeing the Every Student Succeeds Act frees them from restrictions under the old No Child Left Behind law.

Cornyn heard from Hinojosa and leaders from Fort Worth, Irving and Arlington at Dallas’s Latino Cultural Center. The Senate Majority Whip likes the law signed in December.

“Washington’s not very good at command and control when it comes to public education,” Cornyn said. “That authority is best handled at the state and local state level. If the federal government will set the standard and then provide the resources - the flexibility – for these superintendents, they can come up with the best way to achieve those outcomes.”

Dallas Superintendent Hinojosa, who’s spent most of his career in Texas as a teacher, district head and consultant, said the state’s in a better position than others to benefit from the law.

“I think Texas has a competitive advantage because of our history with accountability and the players we that are involved at this time. There’s a lot that’s coming forward but there’ll be some new opportunities to make this work,” Hinojosa said.  

Fort Worth Superintendent Kent Scribner welcomes the new law’s flexibility not there in No Child Left Behind.

“We should not be asking our students what job do they want when they grow up, because they’re going to have multiple jobs,” Sribner said. ”We should be asking what kind of problems do they want to solve, what technologies, what skills, what experiences?”

The Superintendents and Cornyn also said the changed education law is so new, they’re still getting familiar with its nuances.  

Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.