AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Public schools are shaping up to become the top issue in the 2014 election campaigns.
Democrats are complaining about Republican budget cuts and conservatives are calling for more choice and greater efficiency.
Expect candidates to offer a barrage of statistics about schools and student achievement. Money is likely to be the biggest talking point, with Democrats complaining about cuts in per-pupil spending and low salaries in Texas, while Republicans will say there is no correlation between government spending and student success.
Fact checkers will find that both sides have it about half-right.
Texas lags behind in per-pupil spending and teacher pay than states where more students graduate and score higher on the SAT. But increased spending over time does not result in a commensurate increase in student performance.
Chris Tomlinson is the AP's supervisory correspondent responsible for state government and political reporting in Texas.