White pushes for education reform on West Mall

Ahsika Sanders

Two weeks before the Nov. 2 election, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White focused on affordable higher education and textbook curricula as he assured students on the West Mall on Tuesday that he is the change Texas needs.

University Democrats and Longhorn Students for Bill White hosted the Rally to Restore Competence, which brought more than 300 UT students and Austinites to hear White speak and visit issue booths, including one where attendees could earn a Bill White shirt if they made at least five calls to potential voters.

White said the state is in dire need of education reform and told attendees that, if elected, he would advocate for school curricula that does not just focus on passing a standardized test.

“Consider what would it be like if we had a governor who understands that higher education should be accessible to all Texans, and that teachers should teach what is necessary to prepare people for college and careers,” he said.

White said everyone in attendance should let their voice be heard through voting and being active in deciding Texas’ future.

“There is one time every few years that every single person in this state has an equal voice about the direction of the state, and that is the days when the polls are open,” he said.

Many student organizations voiced disdain for Gov. Rick Perry, who refused to attend Tuesday night’s debate on campus with signs that said “Real Governors Debate” and “When will Perry debate?” Government freshman Huey Fischer, a member of University Democrats, expressed his thoughts about Perry’s refusal by dressing in a chicken suit and wearing a “Perry” name badge.

“He denied every offer to debate and we think that’s a little chicken,” Fischer said. “He needs to face the people and explain why he deserves four more years after the 10 he’s already had.”

University Democrats hoped the rally would get voters excited about the upcoming election and reinforce the importance of the youth vote.

“We recently held Vote-o-rama, where we stayed up the entire night to be the first in line to vote at 7 a.m.,” said UDems spokesman Cameron Miculka. “We also have been block walking, making phone calls and tabling to get students excited about the election.”