A free public education should be viewed as a basic human right, according to a Texas pastor visiting cities across Tennessee to urge clergy to support public schools.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press has this story:
Pastors for Texas Children gained national attention after it began to lobby against efforts to use taxpayer money to send students to charter and private schools.
The group, an independent ministry and outreach group that comprises nearly 2,000 pastors and church leaders from across Texas, gained even more attention when it was criticized by Texas politicians with strong ties to the Koch brothers, according to The Washington Post.
A Call to Action
Johnson, described on the Pastors for Texas Children website as an advocate, said religious leaders need to reaffirm and reestablish that a free, public education is a basic human right.
“We have a debate today about whether or not children today deserve an equal education,” he said. “We all know the ills of public education and some [people’s] attempts to privatize it. It’s time for the church to get back together with the schools.”
Tennessee’s Constitution says the General Assembly shall provide for a system of free public schools.
In spite of this promise, legislators in recent years have repeatedly attempted to pass legislation that would divert public money to private schools. Currently, gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee is making vouchers a key element of his education agenda.
Pastors for Tennessee Children Launching
Johnson is traveling across the state, encouraging pastors to join the new arm of the coalition, Pastors for Tennessee Children.
Jeanette Omarkhail, president of the Hamilton County Education Association, first met Johnson at a conference in Minnesota and said his message was one she wanted to bring to Hamilton County.
“Educators need you. They need your support, your encouragement. The students need you,” Omarkhail told the religious leaders gathered in the church’s meeting hall Tuesday. “At those school boards, the school board members need to see you. Those leaders have been saying up at the dais, ‘We need more people of faith involved in our schools, but they’re not here.’ We can go there.”
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