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!”
- The Distractor Factor: Texas 82nd Legislature in Review, Part 2 (drjerryrburkett.wordpress.com)
- Patricia Kilday Hart: It’s time to reframe the school debate (chron.com)
- The Republicans Pray for Rain and Rick Perry (esquire.com)