Martha Wright was unable to attend, but she wrote a wonderful
speech for the Austin Rally.
Welcome to Austin, the capital of the
great state of Texas.
Today, each of you is participating in making history. The politicians
of this state say that teachers are non-voters. The politicians say that teachers
are splintered and fragmented. The politicians say that teachers cannot unite
in order to achieve a common goal. Yet we are here today----united as one group---to
prove the politicians wrong. We refuse to be divided.
We are not here as
members of No Texas Teacher Left Behind, TSTA, ATPE, TFT, or TCTA. We are here
because we are professional educators who have dedicated our lives to public education. We are here to notify the legislators
and the governor that educators will make a difference in the 2006 elections.
We will never forget
the ones who punitively denied educators a better salary and well-deserved retirement benefits, even as those officials so
easily enriched their own retirements and continued to receive free health care for themselves.
The Donna Howard
victory----and her victory is a victory for all of us----is just the first of many more to come. Texas teachers will vote in record numbers to neutralize the power of millionaire Texans
who have attempted to disenfranchise the middle-class voter. Texas education is not for sale.
Texas belongs to each of you, not just to the rich and powerful. Exercise your rights and
vote in the upcoming elections for the candidates who will give us respect, vote for the candidates who will increase our
salaries, vote for the candidates who will provide affordable healthcare…vote for the candidates who will improve our
retirement benefits. Vote for the candidates who put our children's educations
Power without a conscience
breeds corruption, but wide awake school people can change the landscape of Texas
Teachers love children. Teachers love teaching those children.
Yes, we want pay raises and better benefits, but more than these, we want the future of Texas public education to be secure. The ultimate
beneficiaries of our efforts will be the children of the state of Texas
for generations and generations still to come.
Those children are
the most precious resource in our state. More precious than a trip to the Bahamas,
more precious than a no-new-taxes-pledge, more precious than countless unfunded mandates, more precious than a 65% spending
rule, more precious than a Trans Texas Corridor, more precious than a voucher movement.
children are counting on us. We must not fail them.