Pre-K Funding Widens Rift Between Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick

The state’s two highest officials are experiencing a bit of friction over proposed pre-K bills.

By Rhonda Fanning April 22, 2015 1:21 pm

In a letter Tuesday, Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick’s Grassroots Advisory Board called two pre-kindergarten enhancement bills in the Texas Legislature “a threat to parental rights.”

Oh, and did we mention “godless” and “socialistic” too?

That take’s at striking odds with Gov. Greg Abbott, who made pre-K funding a priority during his campaign.

Reporting for the Houston Chronicle, Lauren McGaughy says the legislation in question, House Bill 4, is “limited in scope,” with $130 million earmarked to incentivize new or existing pre-K programs to higher quality standards.

“So they would have to have to institute quality control; teachers would have to be trained to a higher level,” McGaughy says. “But it doesn’t expand pre-kindergarten eligibility at all in Texas.”

According to McGaughy, the lieutenant governor released a two-sentence statement later the same day, attempting to distance himself from the assertions made by his advisors.

“There’s been a jockeying between the governor and the lieutenant governor this session,” she says. “It’s been happening behind the scenes, but we’ve been able to see it in policy, where the lieutenant governor has been pushing issues like school vouchers or school choice, tax cuts that might not necessarily be exactly what Abbott is looking for.”

While the governor tries to keep himself out of the foreground in the debate between the two houses, McGaughy says the bill’s weeks-long stagnation in the Senate will further the friction between Abbott and Patrick.

This post was prepared with assistance by Jan Ross Piedad.