Tuesday, February 29, 2000
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Volume 65, Issue 105

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Jackson to Bush: Equalize school funding

By Jim Parsons
Daily Cougar Staff

The Rev. Jesse Jackson called for an end to educational "apartheid" in Texas during an unexpected stop at a state higher education board meeting at UH on Monday, saying Gov. George W. Bush should promote equality in funding between traditionally Anglo and black state universities.

Jackson spoke before the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's Committee on Office of Civil Rights Issues at its meeting in the University Hilton, using his perceptions of UH and Texas Southern University as an example of the educational inequality he targeted.

Pin Lim/The Daily Cougar

The Rev. Jesse Jackson addresses reporters at the University Hilton on Monday. Jackson was at UH calling on Gov. George W. Bush to end alleged discrepancies in funding between the state's traditionally Anglo and African-American universities.

"When I drove down the street last night and looked at the University of Houston on one side of the street and TSU on the other side of the same street, I saw classical apartheid," Jackson said. "One set of students, two sets of rules."

He said inequalities in funding between the traditionally African-American schools -- TSU and Prairie View A&M, in particular -- give students from the underfunded schools less of a chance to succeed than students from the traditionally white schools.

"We know the gap because we can see it," Jackson said. "It's not so much about black, brown and white as it is about wrong and right."

Jackson; U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston; and state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston; called on Bush to encourage the state Legislature to appropriate more funding for the traditionally black schools.

Although Bush does not have direct control over state funding, Jackson said his backing could help ensure the success of such a measure.

"Many states have worked diligently to close the gap," Jackson said. "This is not just under Gov. George Bush's watch, but he can solve it by signing an agreement now."

Jackson Lee said the federal government would work with the state toward a resolution.

"The point is that we have the money to do it," she said. "If we don't settle it now, all that we will have is a crumbling institution, poorly paid faculty and students who will not want to come."

Similar settlements to the one Jackson called for have already been put forward in several states, including North Carolina, Ohio, Florida and Maryland.

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