EDUCATION IN TEXAS-WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?
Our illustrious Governor, Rick Perry, has exposed his analysis of the education problems with a bomb shell statement. The reason we will have to lay off 100,000 Texas teachers is each local school district’s fault.
He rejected the charge that the $9,000,000,000.00 cut in state funds over the next two years would lead to the mass layoff of teachers. Quote, “The lieutenant governor, the speaker and their colleagues are not going to lay off one teacher, as best I can tell, Perry said.” “That would be the task of the local school districts figuring out how to do the same with less.”
Texas now provides 37 percent of funding for public schools. A little over 10 years ago the state provided 50 percent of the funding for public education. The difference has been made up with increased property taxes.
Perry suggested that the local school districts should just trim the administrative ranks to make up for the cuts of funds. He added, “Over the past decade, we’ve seen a rather extraordinary amount of non-classroom employees added to the school rolls.”
Perry, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and republican members of the legislature have also blamed this on the federal government involvement. What a bunch of hogwash to place a smokescreen in front of them to hide behind.
According to the latest figures I have obtained, Texas spends an average of $7561.00 per student annually to provide K-12 education. The average for all 50 states and Washington D.C. is nearly $10,000.00 per student. Vermont ranks first with $15,139.00 per student. Utah was fifty first with $5,963.00. When you compare this with our miserable ranking of how Texas students are ranked with the same 51 entities academically, something is rotten in Austin, not Denmark.
As a benchmark locally, the annual money provided per student in the Hemphill Independent School District is less than $5000.00. Compared to as much as $12,000 that some other Texas districts receive, someone should be ashamed. I will provide a look at these variations in a later article that will hopefully excite everyone to contact their representatives in Austin. I doubt our State Representative and State Senator even know this disparity exists? I do not question their honesty, just their concerns for our children.
If the school districts are the only ones responsible for the academic performance and spending state money, as Perry stated, I have some real concerns with education in Texas. This means that the State of Texas has questionable oversight on how the 1265 school districts spend their money or educate the children. If this is true, then Texas needs an agency or appointed citizens group to improve any audit of financial and academic performance elements of each district that is currently performed. When parameters are out of accepted range, they would assess the specific causes of any variable. This would require a plan from the district to correct the situation. Follow up would result in an acceptable condition or the state would take over the school district. For those who are not familiar, this is what a private business would do if they had similar conditions.
I feel certain that the some of the 1265 school districts deserve to be challenged. Our Governor and his band of “Pretenders” have declared that all 1265 school boards are equally guilty of incompetence. Without an intense study they have sentenced every Texas child in grades K-12 equal suffering. Action to approve any across the board 20 plus percent education budget reduction for the next two years is irresponsible. Texas leaders have learned how to utilize the Congressional democrats and Obama tactics to just kick the can down the road for someone else to fix someday.
You may have read this past week that Perry and his “Posse” are about to take over $3 billion from the state “Rainy Day Fund” to ease the pain of the budget cuts. I have not found any details of how this affects the proposed $9 billion in education cuts. Sadly this will have no impact on the state ignoring total fiscal and academic performance, they just do not seem to care.
“Someday” is now, we must demand the republicans who have a super majority to stop pointing the finger and do their job. To say the state does not care if the school districts are good or bad is nothing but cowardice. Defaulting their responsibility is about as stupid as a band of criminals breaking into a prison to rob the inmates. Speaking of prisons wait until you see what Texas spends to educate prisoners. Maybe if we educated them during K-12, they would not be in prison?