Save Texas Schools Gets Back in the Game

Protesters call foul on education funding

Perrin-Whitt Superintendent John Kuhn at Saturday's Save Texas Schools rally:
Perrin-Whitt Superintendent John Kuhn at Saturday's Save Texas Schools rally: "Give us time to stand in the pocket and complete these passes." (Photo by Richard Whittaker)

Teachers, students, families and politicians gathered at the capitol today as part of the second Save Texas Schools rally. Many spoke to the crowd, but it may have been John Kuhn, superintendent of Perrin-Whitt Consolidated Independent School District, who finally found the perfect metaphor for Texas school funding: Football.

Kuhn was one of a list list of speakers that covered the panoply of public school advocates. Democrats like Congressman Lloyd Doggett, Reps. Donna Howard, Mark Strama, Eddie Rodriguez and Elliot Naishtat shared a stage with Republicans like State Board of Education member Thomas Ratliff, union leaders, school administrators and students who addressed a large crowd on the south steps.

Last year, Kuhn reached celebrity status with his now famous pastiche of the "Alamo Letter", comparing the plight of Texas schools to that of William B. Travis and his forces. This year, he returned with another powerful metaphor:

If the teacher's the quarterback, Congress is the offensive line. Their performance impacts our performance, but they keep letting us get sacked by poverty, broken homes, student mobility, hunger and healthcare. And they just say oops as that line backer buries his face mask in our chest. And we get back to that huddle and they say, 'You've got to complete your passes, teacher.' We're aware of that. You've got to make your blocks, Legislature. Give us time to stand in the pocket and complete these passes.

All the speakers came back to the same point: That the state had allowed funding to drop by $500 per student, and that the process of fixing that funding collapse cannot wait until next session. As Texas Association of School Administrators former president John Folks noted, "The fight begins now with elections, not when the legislature comes in."

Read more about the demonstration in the next issue of the Chronicle, on news stands March 29.

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