State Senator Wendy Davis (D-TX) has been fighting against Attorney General Greg Abbott’s (R-TX) desire, based upon the “ideas” of a white nationalist who hates women, to use Big Government to regulate 4-year-olds to determine if they’ve earned pre-K funding or not.
Abbott is taking refuge in saying his plan isn’t really his plan. It was just there “for informational purposes.” Wendy Davis was not impressed.
Senator Davis is taking Abbott’s failed education plan on today in Corpus Cristi and touting her own plan that is meant to help all kids. According to prepared remarks, she said, “I’ve laid out a comprehensive education plan that begins even before kindergarten through an initiative called ‘Great Start, Great Texas.’ My plan offers every four-year-old in our state an early start on education through full-day, quality pre-K. It also promotes early-childhood reading so that every student is reading at grade-level by the third grade.”
Davis called Abbott out for denying the facts in his own plan, “Now, Greg Abbott is trying to pull the wool over our eyes. His campaign spokesman says that Abbott’s pre-k plan, and I quote, ‘does not impose more tests on four-year-olds and suggestions to the contrary are absurd.'”
But that’s not what the Texas press found.
From the March 31st Austin American-Statesman, Abbott’s pre-K plan would, quote, “include testing and other measurements.”
On April 1st, KUT radio reported that Abbott’s plan was dangled resources to schools based on, quote, “a determination that would be made through testing.”
The April 5th San Antonio Express-News made it clear: “Abbott suggested three ways schools could measure student progress, including direct assessments or “‘norm referenced standardized tests.”‘
As did yesterday’s Corpus Christi Caller-Times, noting that Abbott’s plan uses “measurement, which is another way of saying testing.
Davis then brought up Abbott canceling a press conference he called on education after the whole white nationalist teeny women’s brains thing. Not a great move on his part. And then, “A day later, his campaign claimed that the new tests for four year olds are there for, and – I’m going to try to say this with a straight face – ‘informational purposes only.'”
Yes, she points out, “In 26 pages, the plan never uses the words ‘informational purposes.'”
She hammered her point home (emphasis mine):
And the truth on testing is right here on page 21:
Lawmakers should amend the Education Code to REQUIRE school districts with prekindergarten programs to administer assessments at the beginning and end of the school year. There are at least three methods of assessing students at the prekindergarten level: ● #1. Direct Assessments, norm referenced standardized tests.
So Senator Davis wants to know, “What other unpopular ideas are now for ‘informational purposes only?’ Did you cite fringe thinker Charles Murray in your plan for “informational purposes only?” Well, since his plan is based in part on Murray’s ideas, he already sorta pulled that card.
Abbott’s get out of trouble free card: “Dear Texas, don’t worry, y’all! I only cited a white nationalist for informational purposes. Don’t you feel better now?”
The pre-K brawl is going down just like the fight over Fair Pay brawl: The Texas Republican says and does some foolish things, and then walks them back and tries to claim they don’t mean what they mean, and then eventually Democrat Wendy Davis clobbers him with his own policies by simply revealing them to the public.
So first Abbott tried to claim that his plan does not call for the “testing” of 4-year-olds. But inherently his plan calls for measurements, which is another way of saying testing. This might make more sense if you realize that Abbott, who is the Attorney General, denied that women make less than men and claimed that he loved women because he was married to a woman, so women didn’t need legal protections. But then it turned out that the women in his very office, an office which upholds Texas law, were paid less than men for the same job.
Anyway, that’s a no go on Abbott’s denials about what constitutes testing. He was for it before he was against it, but he’s still for it so long as we don’t call it testing, even though his own plan uses the word testing and this concept is based in part on Murray’s ideas. That whole plan is for informational purposes, y’all!
Lest the parents of Texas breathe a sigh of relief, however, white nationalist Charles Murray is the guy who claims that women’s brains are smaller than men’s. He also believes, “No women has been a significant original thinker in any of the world’s great philosophical traditions.”
It’s almost funny that Abbott is clinging to an Archie Bunker type who needs to believe that women have smaller brains in order to feel better about his place in the world, given the contest thus far between Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott. What I’m saying (not just for informational purposes, either) is that Wendy Davis seems to be smarter than Greg Abbott. After all, she has him fleeing his own positions and saying really silly things in order to deflect from his dangerous, fringe beliefs. Davis is driving the narrative of this race so far, and this is a race that was supposed to be a cake walk for Abbott.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.