Gubernatorial Candidates Attack Perry on Education

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AUSTIN (AP) - The top three candidates vying to unseat Governor
Rick Perry took turns Saturday bashing the Republican to Texas teachers.

Each pledged they could do a better job with education.

Democratic nominee Chris Bell and independent candidates Carole Keeton Strayhorn and Kinky Friedman spoke to the Association of
Texas Professional Educators' annual convention.

They peppered their speeches with jabs at the governor.

Perry was invited but declined to attend because of a scheduling conflict.

Spokeswoman Kathy Walt said Perry was in Texas but out of town on personal business.

Perry's opponents all laid out broad-stroke education platforms with common themes: pay raises for teachers, more money and wiser
spending in the classroom.

They also stressed getting educators involved in state policy.

Each said the state places too much emphasis on the TAKS test in
measuring performance.

They also praised teachers for their work.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)