Gubernatorial hopefuls tout education policies
Gov. Rick Perry is urging Texas employers to help high school dropouts finish school.
He proposed a business tax credit Tuesday that would reward businesses who grant employees two hours a week of paid time off to return to school or study for the General Educational Development Tests. Employers would be eligible for a $1,500 credit on their sales taxes for each student who obtains a diploma or GED certificate.
Perry, seeking re-election to an unprecedented third term, has been sharply criticized for Texas’ high dropout rate.
The proposal requires action by the Legislature, which isn’t scheduled to meet until January. Perry estimates that the proposal would cost the state $15 million per year.
Perry’s announcement in El Paso came a day after Democratic gubernatorial nominee Bill White touted his five-point education program, which calls for changes such as expanding pre-kindergarten programs and making college tuition more affordable.
The former Houston mayor outlined the program in a speech Monday to the annual conference of the National Council of La Raza in San Antonio. The council is a Hispanic rights advocacy group.
White’s program also calls for working with school districts, community colleges and employers to improve career and technical education; more tutoring, summer school and outreach to absentee students to cut dropout rates; and adding measuring sticks for teacher-student performance besides standardized tests.