The Legislature’s top priority? Well, it’s not education.

According to the headline, public education was the Texas Legislature’s top priority this session. It ran over a column written by Rep. Charles Schwertner (R-BobPerryPAC) and was published this week in The Cameron Herald and other area newspapers I suspect.

I suppose he had to say it … when your most effective weapon is the Big Lie, you have to start somewhere.

But the fact is that Rep. Schwertner and his Republican colleagues spent more time listening to the 750 or so loud, selfish and hostile Tea Party voices in his district than to the thousands of people who will lose their jobs, the already jobless and under-employed families who depend on Medicaid, or to the parents and teachers of this generation of children who will be denied an adequate education.

Never mind the amount of effort and resources he and his cohorts put in to destroying the rights of women to control their own destiny or the rights of minorities to contribute to our society without the fear of harassment … heck, the Texas Tea Party Republicans tried to roll back the whole 20th Century!

How can he — or any other Tea Party Republican — say with a straight face that public education was a top priority of Legislators? At the end of the day, the Texas Legislature decided that funding public education at the levels required by the Texas Constitution was discretionary, not mandatory. And, its discretion did not extend to taking population growth into account when it grandly announced that it would increase spending by $1.6 billion when population growth alone called for more like a $5 billion increase.

Schwertner was correct when he said that money would not solve the problems with our education system but lower per-student spending will most definitely make solving these problems much more difficult. Even State Sen. Steve Ogden admitted that education funding for this budget was “inadequate” and that Texas lawmakers “just kicked the can down the road.”

Well, the good doctor has to put a fair face on this somehow. What better way to counter the charge that the Texas Legislature failed to discharge its responsibilities to children, to our senior citizens and to our jobless than by saying, “Nuh-uh! Did not!”

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About Richard Stone

... is a husband, a father, a writer, a journalist, an activist, an avid reader of trash science fiction and an occasional folk/bluegrass guitar player. He loves to travel, UT sports, community theater and sharing a good bottle of wine with good friends.
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2 Responses to The Legislature’s top priority? Well, it’s not education.

  1. Ted Hubert says:

    Richard,
    I cannot understand why the republicans, for the most part, have refused to take the “Rainy Day” fund to relieve the financial crunch Texas is facing? Then it hit me like a bolt of lighting, the agenda must show how the president is not working to create jobs. In not using the “economic stabilization fund” Texas will lose 200,000 jobs in education alone. Who said “money wont fix the problems in education?” More money would move Texas from 44 th in the nation for money spend per student. More money would move Texas up from 33 rd in the nation for teacher’s salaries. Money attracts the best teachers. Money matters! I suppose Texas will soon rank 50th in the nation in both these categories very soon. Texas legislators cannot place politics above education. ( Oh! Yes they can. and they have.) Under funding will increase class size, place heavier workloads on the public school instructors and make a bad situation worse. Texas has politicians with a few statesmen and it needs statesmen with a few politicians. in my view.
    The measure of a nation, or state, is seen by looking at the ways it treats its youth and elderly. The term is not over, so the report card grade is not out, but I think the grade “F” will be well earned, and deserved.

  2. Pingback: A Brief History of Texas Public Education « Education in Texas

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