EDUCATION TEXAS-IS STATE FUNDING ADEQUATE & FAIR?
I recently reported that we have 1265 school districts in the state. I have tried to understand the reason for this but there is none. Downsizing and digging deeper in an attempt to understand, I discovered that children in Sabine County where I reside, attend four different school districts. Even though the current census reported that we had surpassed 10,200 people, this makes no business sense.
While working at the local level, I wish to report some figures obtained from the Texas Education Association (TEA). The State of Texas appropriated $7,561 per student average across the state. The US state average is nearly $10,000 per student. The highest is Vermont that provides $15,139 per student. I asked our State Representative, Wayne Christian, in a letter last month why the two largest school districts in Sabine County received less than $5,000 per student. I have not received a response but he did have a press release issued on April 7th that addresses some of my questions. My two letters to Mr. Christian and his first response is on my blog should you desire to read them. I will post his news release soon.
Hemphill ISD received $4,806 and West Sabine ISD received $4,596 per student. For everyone’s information the Westbrook ISD received $13,121, Wink-Loving ISD received $12,526, Sundown ISD received $12,544 and Webb ISD received $11,057. It would be nice to see more people ask why! I hope I am not alone as a layman in trying to understand and improve education and equalizing the funding for all children in America.
My current focus is to visit with educators, administrators and school boards in east Texas. This will permit me to determine how to better understand how we can all help improve education. I will share the knowledge gained in future articles.
I had my first meeting with Mr. Glen Pearson April 7th and gained a much better understanding of the Hemphill ISD. I was surprised to find we do have some impressive vocational programs offered to the K-9-12 students in Sabine County. Mr. Pearson recommended that I meet with Ms. Lana Comeaux, at the Sabine Area Career Center, and let her provide me with the details of the various programs. These programs provide the area students with vocational opportunities and college credits. The Hemphill ISD pays for two courses each semester. These courses are offered in the evenings and on weekends. I will try to meet with Ms. Comeaux next week and write an article explaining the details as soon as possible.
Mr. Pearson was also concerned about the variations in state funding and it appears that Wayne Christian is also looking into the matter. My overall knowledge of Hemphill ISD was greatly expanded in the meeting. I will share some of the results of my meeting with Mr. Pearson in future articles. I hope to visit with Mr. Pearson again on April 21st.
One evening a few years ago, my closest neighbor, Dr. Michael Neal, told me an educational related story that I will never forget. He had a sixteen year old boy in for a physical. During the exam, he asked the boy how he was doing in school. The response was “OK”. He then asked him what he desired to be after his high school experience. The response was, “I just want to be a better hawg hunter than my daddy.” I will always respect this honesty and this is one example of education just wasting this young boy’s time.
Hopefully someday, we can find the right formula to educate the children and align them to their destined place in society. All children were not intended to be identical and some are not capable of being a doctor, lawyer, teacher or a rocket scientist.
Observing our political leaders in Washington D.C. and Austin over the past several years has me convinced that the education of all politicians has been an abysmal experience. As most of these politicians are lawyers, it is apparent that common sense is not a subject required or offered in our universities or law schools.