@ Newsdesk

The Road to Bad Law Is Paved With Good Intentions

Last week Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Speaker Tom Craddick excluded legislative Democrats from the new Select Committee on Public School Accountability. No biggie, said the speaker's office; the civilian members add all the diversity the committee needs.

Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, sees the exclusion as bigger than a mere blatant rejection of bipartisanship, however. Dewhurst and Craddick failed to bring vital points of view and important stakeholders to the table, she says.

To illustrate her point, she told Newsdesk a story about working with a well-intentioned company that wanted to organize prescription deliveries to patients on Medicaid. The firm wanted to phone ahead, until Van de Putte pointed out that not every household has a phone. Well, asked the company, what about public phones? "Maybe," said Van de Putte, "in your part of town, public phones take incoming calls." The firm didn't realize that, in some urban areas, public phones (if you can find one) are outgoing only, to cut down on the drug trade. So, the firm suggested, what about FedEx deliveries? "What if they can't get FedEx?" Van de Putte responded. "FedEx won't go into the projects."

The Select Committee on Public School Accountability now has four Republican legislators, as well as two education commissioners, three school district superintendents, one deputy superintendent, a principal, an elementary teacher, a banker, a lawyer, the president of a futures trading company, and the CEO of Continental Airlines. How's that for diversity!

Posted Monday, Feb. 4, on austinchronicle.com/newsdesk.

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Select Committee on Public School Accountability, David Dewhurst, Tom Craddick, Leticia Van de Putte

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