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Government/Politics

Bill Of Rights For Schools Parallels Abbott’s Push For Constitutional Change

Thomas_Ratliff-board_of_education.jpg
State of Texas
SBOE member Thomas Ratliff, District 9

A member of the State Board of Education is proposing a public school Parent Bill of Rights that echoes a series of constitutional changes announced by Governor Greg Abbott on Friday.  The plan asks that school boards be given the same power to override state legislative and judicial directives deemed unfit at the local level.

State Board of Education member Thomas Ratliff is offering up a plan that he says fits in with the Governor’s proposal for increasing states’ rights, but focuses on how well school districts are represented by state legislative and judicial leaders in Austin.

“It’s hard to get much closer to the people you represent than your local school board.  And if we truly want individuals to have a voice, I don’t know how you get much better than the local school board, especially when you consider any other body at the state or federal level,” Ratliff said.

Data compiled by Ratliff shows, Texas Senators make up a 1 to 850,000 representation to constituent ratio, versus a local school board member in Texas who represents an average of 3,500 parents and teachers.

And while the Parent Bill of Rights comes off as a satirical parody to the governor’s plan, Ratliff says he stands behind Abbott’s efforts to restore a balance of power.

Ratliff’s seven legislative proposals range from constitutional changes that would prohibit Texas lawmakers from regulating school activities that occur wholly in one school district to prohibiting the Texas Education Agency from creating new state laws. Part 1 of Ratliff's Bill of Rights is here. And Part 2 is here.