Yesterday on KSEV 700, future State Sen. Paul Bettencourt and current State Rep. Debbie Riddle discussed the Early to Rise program. The discussion is a preview of what is to come for the Harris County Department of Education if the elected Board of Trustees chooses to, in essence, collect taxpayer money and give it to a private business.
Since KSEV doesn’t offer podcasts of their shows, I recorded the segment for you. It is a fairly long segment, about 20 minutes after I stripped out the advertisements, but worth listening to if you are unsure about the program, don’t know much about the HCDE, or are generally interested in how a new state senator is going to approach the job. Unfortunately, Debbie gets a little bit into the weeds of far-right thinking when discussing Common Core, but her fans will appreciate it.
A little bit of real news, at least it was news to me and Bettencourt. Bettencourt is going to be on Khambrel Marshall’s Newsmakers this Sunday discussing the Early to Rise initiative and taped the show shortly before going on air at KSEV. His “opponent” for the show (he didn’t mention a name) told him that County Attorney Vince Ryan has given a private opinion to County Judge Ed Emmett that he has to put it on the ballot and use the language that the group proposed. As you know, Emmett and Sen. Dan Patrick have asked Attorney General Greg Abbott for an opinion on the petition process and ballot access. I doubt a private opinion from Ryan will impact Abbott’s decision.
Early to Rise highlights
- getting signatures in a way that is a little less than honest by telling people it was in support of Head Start
- starts with children immediately after they are born, also working with pregnant women to help teach them how to teach their children
- we want education to be teaching our children how to think, not what to think
- money goes to private child care facilities that would use the Common Core program that the Obama administration is trying to push into our schools
- they will let those private, for profit child care companies know that this is what you need to be teaching and if you do not teach this Common Core standard that the Obama administration is pushing, then that’s fine, but we will just pull all of our money and it will hold a huge weight over the heads – they will become dictators, worse than they already are – and so this is very problematic and dangerous, downright dangerous
- Early to Rise is a pass through program taking $30 million a year from taxpayers and giving it to another group without a single trustee being from the elected board
- HCDE is a governmental entity collecting tax dollars that is scrambling desperately to find a reason to exist
- HCDE paid $50,000 a month during session to fight her bill to shut them down
- HCDE is using taxpayer money to start private businesses, competing with private industry
- HCDE is not following the law: they are supposed to give the tax money they collect to school districts based on attendance but they do not give one dime back
- Supt John Sawyer said that he wants this to pass because it will make the HCDE so big that no one in Austin could touch them
- HCDE board voted to double the salary of the lobbyist in Washington, D.C.
HCDE Board meeting next week
Riddle is going to the HCDE Board meeting next Tuesday. Hey, it’ll be good to have the company! She said that it needs to be standing room only because they have flown under the radar for so long they think they are invincible and we need to let them know that they are accountable to the voters. I can’t disagree with that statement. She also said that she’s like a dog with a bone, not letting it go – she plans to re-file her bill to close the HCDE and asked Bettencourt if he would help her. He said of course, then remembered he hasn’t been elected yet. That’s just a formality, he’s going to be pushing this issue hard, especially if the board votes to be the Early to Rise tax collecting agency. Sen. Patrick was busy as Chair of Public Education and didn’t have time to help Riddle – Bettencourt won’t have much else to do. Sawyer is flat wrong if he thinks Early to Rise will protect the department.
Listen to the entire discussion:
Paul Bettencourt & Debbie Riddle discussing Early to Rise and HCDE 8-15-13 (click that link if the player isn’t showing below)