We the People

 

 

My deepest condolences to the family of Senator John McCain. He was a patriot, a hero and he served his country with honor and integrity. May he rest in peace.

“Drink your milk and then you can go out and play,” was a daily common refrain from my infant school teacher. The milkman delivered small 5oz bottles of milk every day to my school and we were given them just before morning recess. We were told it was to make sure we grew up with strong bones. I loved my milk, it was cold and there was a small amount of cream on the top, but when it was finished, we could hit the playground for what seemed like an eternity, but was never really long enough. Rain or shine, we went outside to play as we needed to run off all our energy.

I am the product of a public education: I am the product of dedicated teachers, committed parents, responsible local government, and a national government that understood the value of investing in the education of the children of today to produce the leaders, innovators, workers, artists, diplomats and entrepreneurs of tomorrow. By providing us with the best public education, the government was equipping us with all the tools we would need to be curious of the world around us and make reasoned decisions. My education was completely free from the first day I walked into infant school until the day I bowed to the Chancellor of my university and was bestowed with my degree. Education was viewed as a right and not a privilege nor was it sacred to a chosen wealthy few, but available to all. The belief was that business, profit and special interest groups should have no involvement in education: the education of a nation was best served by educational professionals.

Democrats believe that everyone has a fundamental right to a quality public education; and that your zipcode should not determine your opportunities, and every child should be given the tools to succeed. A world class education system is a moral imperative and an economic necessity.

I have witnessed an assault on public education over the last decade. In 2011, school funding in Texas was cut by 5.4 billion, resulting in overcrowding in schools and 11,000 teachers losing their jobs. Today, our property taxes keep rising, and the money is not given to our public schools but given to unaccountable charter schools. Cuts have been made to universities and colleges saddling our young people with debts they are first starting out in life.

We need to rethink: we need to invest in our local schools and our children’s education. Every child should have access to an educational program that values highly skilled teachers and encourages critical thinking and creativity; and we need to give every child the opportunity to get ahead.

Education is a right, and we need to treat it as such.

The Senate District 19 Special Election runoff is scheduled for September 18th, with early voting beginning on September 10th. I strongly encourage you all to get out and vote for Pete Gallego, our Democratic candidate. Your voice and your vote counts.

JULIE HILBERG is the Atascosa County Democratic Chair and will be writing a weekly opinion on matters that are important to her, the Democratic Party and hopefully you – the voter, as we head into the November elections. You may reach her at atascosademocrats@outlook.com.

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