Meet the Texas Republicans backing public schools

When a well-known community member dies in Atlanta, Texas, the funeral is often held in the high school auditorium.

“It’s the only place in town that can hold that many people,” says Atlanta schools Superintendent Jason Harris. “It’s just the heartbeat of the local community.”

Downtown Atlanta – about 10 miles from the border of Louisiana and Arkansas – features a grocery store, a hardware store, a public library, a feed store, and a couple of auto parts stores. There are about a dozen churches. 

Why We Wrote This

Rural Texans are deeply conservative – and deeply committed to their public schools. How will that play out in an era when school choice has become a GOP litmus test?

In the rural towns where he’s worked, these social and cultural bonds are as important as any other service the public schools provide. The school and the community are indistinguishable, sharing Friday night football and Sunday morning services, good times and bad times.

“I’ve always been extreme East Texas,” says Mr. Harris, in a thick, piney woods drawl. Like most rural public school teachers, Mr. Harris taught multiple subjects and coached multiple sports. (Science was his area of expertise.) In the past 30-plus years, he’s never worked more than 20 miles from the Louisiana or Arkansas state line.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *