Texas protesters demand education changes

Feb. 24, 2013 at 6:56 PM

AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- Ten thousand protesters marched on the Texas Capitol demanding changes in the state's testing system and more money for public schools, rally officials said.

Robert Scott, who resigned as state education commissioner last summer after criticizing the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, told the "Save Texas Schools" protesters gathered in Austin Saturday the reason he spoke up was because he "saw the system spinning out of control."

Students' STAAR test results are the primary gauge of success for schools and teachers, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

State Sen. Kirk Watson said state lawmakers should restore $5.4 billion cut from basic school assistance and grant programs in 2011.

Arlene Wohlgemuth, a former state lawmaker and executive director of the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation, said she advocates school choice to make the system more flexible. Choices would include private school scholarships and facilitating parents' transfers of their children among public schools.

"Your ZIP code has determined your fate, and this is simply not acceptable in Texas," said Peggy Venable, Texas director of the conservative political advocacy group, Americans for Prosperity.

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