For the past few weeks I have been posting the sad state of education in America, using Wisconsin as a benchmark. When you see what has happened in Wisconsin, California, New York, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and other states that have closed shop laws, it is terrible. I think that somewhere back in time when the Unions took over leadership of public employees and introduced strikes, money making insurance schemes, etc., everyone forgot the taxpayer. Apparently the taxpayer did not care and in regards to education, everyone forgot the children.
Well, in Texas we do not have closed shops. We do not have the unionization of public employees. We do not have strikes. We do not provide adequate funding for our children’s education. We have no idea whether funding, greed, graft, capability or leadership is the reason our education system is inadequate.
Let me share some facts:
Texas has 254 counties.
Texas has 1265 school districts.
Texas has 4,331,751 K-12 students.
Texas has 289,480 full time teachers.
Texas has 33,630 ungraded teachers.
These figures along with myriads of facts and statistics are available on the internet and I feel sure this will be figures that our state legislatures and Governor have never seen. When you finish reading this posting, you will likely wonder if the Texas State leadership should meet in Rusk rather than Austin. For the unaware Rusk, Texas is the location of the most recognized mental institution, “Funny Farm”, in Texas.
This post will be the first in a series about education in Texas. I sincerely hope you will contact your local State Representative and State Senator to explain their position. There is no use in wasting your time with contacting the Governor, Rick Perry, as he has done more to destroy education in Texas than the federal government. He will likely be trying to succeed Obama next year and as far as education is concerned, he will try to make all states as bad as Texas.
Let me provide you with some questions to ask the politicians who represent you. This includes your local Mayor, School Board President and the loons in Austin, or maybe in Rusk. The ones in Rusk are at least incapable of spending your tax money. I was able to find one State Senator, Florence Shapiro, who represents District 8, I will exempt from my list of loons. She has challenged the proposed madness in writing and is a strong supporter for assuring our children are not education and political pawns for her entire career. If anyone else in Austin feels slighted, show me what you have written to support the kids.
Unfortunately some of the facts that follow are as late as I can find for you to evaluate. If you find any pertinent information, please forward me a copy.
Facts of Texas rankings out of all 50 states (not Obama’s 57) including Washington D.C. which makes 51 positions to rank;
Expenditure per student in 2008, Texas ranked 43rd.
Student poverty rate in 2008, Texas ranked 8th.
Fourth grade students in math in 2009, Texas ranked 32nd.
Fourth grade students in reading in 2009, Texas ranked 41st.
Eighth grade students in math in 2009, Texas ranked 21st.
Eighth grade students in reading in 2009, Texas ranked 40th.
Nationally defined graduation rates, Texas ranked 35th.
*School finance inequity, Texas ranked 41st.
*School finance inequity – or the degree to which per pupil spending varies across districts within a state relative to the state’s average per pupil expenditure – is an important factor in determining educational equity. The U.S. Department of Education calculates school finance inequity for each state in accordance with the Education Finance Incentive Grant formula, assigning each state an “equity factor.” The more equitable the distribution of education funding across districts in a state, the lower the equity factor. For more detailed information on the funding formula and see No Child Left Behind Act – Title I School Funding Equity Factor.1
At this time you can digest this and ask two simple questions to anyone who will listen. Please ask the questions to your State Representative and State Senator. I will ask Robert Nichols and Wayne Christian to respond to this by sending them a copy, they supposedly represent me. Although I do not expect any written answer, if I get any response I will share it with you when received.
Question #1 Can anyone why we have 1265 school districts in Texas?
Question #2 What reasons justifies the over 20% reduction of next year’s education budget?
Wait until you see some more figures on what Texas spends for education and a wide disparity between the 1265 school districts. These figures will get you excited if you pay school taxes or have children enrolled in Texas schools.
The above sounds like I am a liberal democrat thumping the super majority republicans in Austin to fire up contempt. There is not a republican in the State of Texas more conservative than myself. I just can’t sit on my hands and watch the slashing of education with no thought concerning the negative impact on the children. That is not leadership.