I tire of reading how our Governor, Rick Perry, our Legislature and George Bush, our immediate past President of the United States, praise our state and how great we educate our children. Statistics don’t lie, just politicians. If it were not bad enough we have recently slashed our spending by significant amounts.
Lack of leadership ignores the loss of a huge source of income that would improve our educational system. Lack of political courage prevents the people of Texas the opportunity to even vote on a common sense solution.
We have a lottery. We have horse and dog racing. We even have one casino the state has tried to shut down owned by the Indians. They did close the Indian casino near Livingston and put the Coushatta tribe back into a worse than poverty existence.
People will gamble and it is a legislative action and/or a voter decision to permit legalized casino gambling in a state. Unless you are blind, legally incompetent or a member of the Texas Legislature you know that you can visit casinos in New Mexico, Oklahoma and Louisiana as most are positioned on or near the Texas border. If you have visited any of these locations and you are not legally blind or a member of the Texas Legislature, 90% of the cars will have Texas license plates.
I will not or have not ever supported any candidate for a state elected position that will not allow the people of Texas to at least vote to allow casino gambling. This is not a moral issue, it is just plain old common sense.
Let me share some facts to support my concern for Texas educational improvement and how our tax losses have likely helped our surrounding states.
Ask.com reports that Texas ranks 50th and in last place on the percentage of people 25 years old that have a high school or a higher diploma. We proudly come in last with 79.9%.
The latest National Education Association (NEA) in 2010 ranked Texas 50th and in last place. The NEA report for 2011 of state spending per pupil has Texas ranked at 41st with $8611. New Mexico came in 35th at $9070 and Louisiana came in 23rd at $10,723.
I could bore you with several pages of similar statistics but I found one that seems to be the most significant measure of educational success I could locate. This is the actual scores of all students in the state who took the SAT exam. I found this information on Yahoo Voices should you desire to verify my source.
The SAT scores are in four categories as follow;
1. Critical Reading, Texas average was 486 and was 46th in ranking by state. The national average score was 610. Oklahoma came in 11th, Louisiana 18th and New Mexico 21st.
2. Math, Texas average was 506 and was 38th in ranking by state. The national average score was 615. Oklahoma came in 13th, Louisiana 17th and New Mexico 21st.
3. Writing, Texas average was 475 and was 47th in ranking by state. The national average score was 588. Oklahoma came in 14th, Louisiana 16th and New Mexico 21st.
4 Total score, Texas average was 1467 and was 45th in ranking by state. The national average score was 1509. Oklahoma came in 12th, Louisiana 18th, New Mexico 21st.
It appears to me that there are several conclusions that are evident based on these statistics;
a. Texas revenue has possibly helped the school systems in the surrounding states.
b. Surrounding states have better educational systems.
c. Surrounding states have better Legislatures.
d. Texas priorities are misguided.
In my opinion Texas leaders are focused on forcing teachers to teach students on how to pass tests that are not used in other states rather than educating them. We have spent hundreds of millions with foreign companies who have developed tests and measure the results and blame the teachers for dismal results.
Our educational system in Texas is broken, leaderless and not focused on letting our teachers educate our children like they did when I went to school. We need to better train and pay our teachers, legalize casino gambling and dedicate every penny to improving our children’s education.