While Monday marked the first day of school for millions of children, a proud and smiling Texas Governor Greg Abbott was there to greet some of them.
Gov. Abbott visited kindergarten, first grade and second grade students at Zavala Elementary School in Austin this morning offering words of encouragement and giving “high fives.” Thanking teachers and administrators for the work and preparation they do, Abbott spoke about the many education initiatives the Lone Star State took during the last legislation session.
One of the Governor’s stated priorities when he took office in January is to elevate the Texas education system to be among the best in the nation.
“The State of Texas must ensure children get off to the very best start in early education and we do that by inspiring our students to grow, to innovate and to succeed in the classroom,” said Governor Abbott. “The future of Texas is dependent on the success of our children, and working with parents, teachers and administrators, we will continue to strengthen the foundation of early education that will set our students on a pathway toward prosperity.”
His first priority on the published list of initiatives is education. “Texas is exceptional, and our education system must be too,” he states.
Gov. Abbott is on record as wanting his year’s pre-kindergarten class to graduate from high school in the top ranked school system in the nation. He intends to promote a “culture of aspiration and achievement in our schools by setting expectations of excellence for our children, our teachers, our principals and our parents, and then giving educators the flexibility to achieve them.”
Abbott was particularly proud to work with the Texas Senate with a passage of several of his priority early education initiatives on April 23, 2015. Senate Bill 925 (Sen. Kolkhorst), Senate Bill 934 (Sen. Kolkhorst) and Senate Bill 935 (Sen. Kolkhorst) seeks to launch Literary Achievement Academies to improve the professional development of teachers in literacy, Math Achievement Academies to train K-3 teachers in numeracy instruction and technology, and Reading Excellence Teams to improve student learning in critical learning years, respectively.
“I applaud the Texas Senate for recognizing the importance of providing our teachers with the tools necessary to improve numeracy and literacy instruction and ensuring students are receiving the highest quality education possible in critical early years,” Abbott responded in April, indicating the vote “is an important first step toward transforming the foundation of our state’s early education system for generations to come, and I look forward to signing this legislation into law.”
“I want to welcome students back to school and I wish them all the best of luck as they begin the new academic year,” he stated at the elementary school today.