This post originally aired and published on Aug. 29, 2016.
Along with other Texas lawmakers, state Rep. Diego Bernal, a Democrat from San Antonio, has been getting an earful from all sides on problems with public education in Texas.
But rather than taking someone else’s word for it, he did what no other lawmaker has yet to do – he visited every single school in his district, 55 in all.
Rep. Bernal says educators’ responses were, in some ways, unexpected. “I think I went in expecting them saying, ‘We just need more money and that would solve all the problems.’ They didn’t say that,” he says. “In fact, no one said that.”
Bernal says he didn’t understand the importance of placing experienced teachers at the schools with the highest needs. “You load these campuses up with inexperienced teachers – those people are good folks and they could probably do a good job – but you’re not playing the odds the way you would if you give them experienced teachers for a limited amount of time,” he says.