Gu­ber­na­to­rial hope­fuls tout ed­u­ca­tion poli­cies

Austin American-Statesman - - METRO & STATE -

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.

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