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Abbott, Davis Present Their Visions For Education To School Administrators

Marjorie Kamys Cotera and Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune
Democrat Wendy Davis and Republican Greg Abbott are competing for governor.

The leading candidates for governor presented their visions for improving public education to one of the toughest audiences in the state -- several thousand school administrators meeting in Dallas.

Late Friday afternoon, Democrat Wendy Davis reminded the members of the Texas Association of School Boards and the Texas Association of School Administrators that as a state senator she filibustered more than $5 billion in school cuts in 2011 and has since worked to restore the money to the state budget.

She launched into a criticism of her Republican opponent Greg Abbott, which included a call for him as attorney general to drop the legal appeal of a court ruling that found Texas doesn't adequately fund its schools.

Davis told educators her top priority as governor would be improving school funding and programs.

“If the Legislature sends me a budget that doesn’t accomplish that goal, I will veto the bill,” she said. “Because it’s time for Austin to stop pushing costs down to the local level. And it’s time to stop imposing more testing mandates.”

Republican Greg Abbott, who spoke second, ignored most of Davis' slights, except to say he also wants to reduce standardized testing. 

He said one of his top education priorities is giving local school districts more control over daily operations.

Abbott proposes more local control for school districts.

“Why is it the state of Texas needs to mandate things like calendars and schedules? Or facilities management? Or procurement?" Abbott said. "Much of that decision making should be done at the local level. I propose that school districts be allowed to exempt themselves from mandates related to daily operations."

Abbott and Davis will have a chance to talk about their visions for education and Texas when they meet at KERA in Dallas on Tuesday for their second statewide televised debate.  The hour-long debate begins at 8 p.m. on KERA-TV (Channel 13) and stations across Texas.  The debate will also air live on KERA 90.1 FM and here on More information is at

Former KERA staffer Shelley Kofler was news director, managing editor and senior reporter. She is an award-winning reporter and television producer who previously served as the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.