Beto O'Rourke Tells a Packed House That Texas Needs to Fix Its Education System

click to enlarge Beto O'Rourke poses for a photo after his town hall at the Carver Center. - SANFORD NOWLIN
Sanford Nowlin
Beto O'Rourke poses for a photo after his town hall at the Carver Center.
U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke told an overflow crowd Tuesday night at the Carver Center's 650-seat Jo Long Theatre that fixing Texas' educational system is essential to the state's future.

"I want us to get our priorities right," O'Rourke said. "I want us to pay teachers a living wage. I want us to take care of retired teachers. Here is the consequence if we fail to: Not only are we doing the wrong thing morally and ethically... But in our own self interest, we're going to fail to recruit the best and the brightest into the classroom."

O'Rourke, running to unseat incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, touted the appearance as his first town hall devoted exclusively to education issues.

During his half-hour speech, the El Paso congressman cited San Antonio's Pre-K 4 SA program as an example of a community ensuring a more equitable education system for all residents. He'd said he'll push for both a universal pre-K program and no-tuition community college.

"That investment turns into something far greater than what we put in," he said. "I want to make the most out of every single one of us."

After taking questions from the crowd, O'Rourke spent nearly an hour shaking hands and posing for photos. A line to meet the congressman snaked through the Carver lobby as people purchased "Beto for Senate" t-shirts and carried out stacks of yard signs.

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