March 24, 2012
Speech to the Save Texas Schools Rally
Thank you all so much for taking time out of your Saturday to come out here and do something to support our schools and our kids. They are worth fighting for.
A while back, folks that cared deeply about their kids and their future came together and declared that those in control of government were failing them. They said that those in control had “failed to establish any public system of education, although possessed of almost boundless resources . . . and although it is an axiom in political science that unless a people are educated and enlightened, it is idle to expect the continuance of civil liberty, or the capacity for self government.”
Those words come from the Texas Declaration of Independence.
So we all need to remember that even 176 years ago, Texas schools and Texas kids were worth fighting for.
I’m proud of that history. I’m proud of that Texas. I’m proud of that independence that’s willing to say to those in control that you’re not doing the best you can do. And I’m proud of all of you for being out here today fighting the same fight.
The truth is that Texas can do better. We know that Texas can do better because it has done better.
This is a state that has believed in the future, and invested in it. This state, our state, looks at children and sees the potential for the prosperity they should enjoy and can create.
But let’s not be confused: Texas isn’t this Capitol building or the people who control it. It’s not an extreme, short-sighted legislature or cynical, politically driven politicians.
Texas, the real Texas, believes in its schools.
It cares about its teachers and believes in its students. Texas is the millions of hard-working, middle-class parents who want help raising their kids to happy, healthy adulthood with the opportunity that all Texans deserve.
It’s the compassionate teachers who serve our state by loving our kids, and who care deeply about helping them grow, learn and succeed.
And it’s the children – the Texas kids who know nothing of politics or false debates. They sense only natural Texas optimism for tomorrow and a feeling that we have some responsibility for them. They look to us to leave a legacy worthy of their future. They deserve people looking out for their future.
So no matter how many unfair bills and unfair budgets you’ve seen streaming out of this building over the last few years, make no mistake: Texas believes in you.
Our founders believed in you so strongly, they said in our constitution that those in control of this building cannot, they must not, allow our education system to break down.
It’s heart-breaking – heart-breaking – that Texas’ children, parents, teachers and others have been so damaged by the decisions made in this building. It’s tragic that hundreds of school districts felt that they had no choice but to sue the state to force those in control of Texas to do better when it comes to our kids and our future.
And I’m under no illusions about what every single one of you is facing. I know it’s crushing to teach in classrooms filled with more and more students; or to drop your kids off wondering if they’ll have the same opportunities you did; or to sit in class, with less and less support, trying to learn everything that the 21st Century will demand of you.
But the truth we need to remember – the reason we’re here today – is that Texas can do better. No matter how bad things get, I’m proud – and you should be proud – to live in a place where history, the people and the law are on our side.
So what I want to tell you today is … don’t give up. Keep fighting. Keep believing. Know that Texas and Texans are with you. And … we will prevail. We will create the great schools that Texans deserve.
Because Texas can do better. Texas has done better. Texas must do better. And, with your help, Texas will do better.
Thank you all for being here. God bless you, God bless Texas, God bless our children and their futures, and God bless Texas schools.