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Greg Abbott Visits SA To Discuss Pre-K Plan, Stands Behind Controversial Citation

Joey Palacios
TPR News
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott discusses his education plan with the media at the IDEA Carver Academy on S. Hackberry Street in San Antonio.

Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Gregg Abbott appeared in San Antonio this week to tout his education plan just days after it was released to the public.

The first part of Abbott’s plan includes students in pre-K through the third grade (you can view the full plan here.)

During his visit to the Idea Carver Academy on the East Side, Abbott’s discussion focused primarily on pre-K. Abbott said he has the goal of making Texas fall in the top ten highest ranking states for each education component.

The plan includes merit-based funding to pre-K programs. School districts and programs that adopt Abbott’s "Gold Standard" -- including Pre-K 4 SA -- would be eligible to receive additional funds of $1,500  per student.

“Students who are categorized as eligible by the statutory definition have the a legal right to go to a pre-K 4 program (pre-K for four year olds), lets say here in san Antonio," Abbott said. "Then we will provide money that will ensure that that pre-K 4 program will receive 'Gold Standard' status.

Abbott directly denounced the federally-funded HeadStart program, saying parents should be encouraged to enroll their children under his state-based pre-K.

Democrat Wendy Davis' gubernatorial campaign is criticizing Abbott for his citation of Charles Murray, a controversial figure in social policy.

In the second paragraph of the Early Elementary Education section of Abbott's plan, he cites Murray, a scholar who the Davis campaign pointed outis listed as a "White Nationalist" by the Southern Poverty Law Center. In response, Abbott decried Davis for focusing only on a single footnote and stated that Murray has been cited by people like President Bill Clinton.

“U.S. News and World Report chose Murray as one of the 32 men and women who define the contemporary intellectual debate on social policy," Abbott said. "A Newsweek cover article picked Murray as one of the hundred of Americans who lead in their field."

Editor's Note: The U.S. News and World Report article titled "The New American Establishment" was written in 1988 and refers to Murray's book "Losing Ground" as the "bible of the neoconservatives."

So far we have not been able to track down the Newsweek story cited by Abbott.

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules