Imagine if . . . Texas had enough money to update all public schools, pay salaries appealing enough to catch the eye of the brightest and best graduates, and provide state of the art materials and equipment. Imagine if . . . in such a world, private and parochial schools also requested state funding. I might stand at the front of the line to say, “Of course Texas can fund private as well as public education.” Unfortunately, we do not enjoy this luxury in Texas. So, how does reality look?
Reality means that August heat now rages with full force in Texas. In a short time, public school doors will open for any and all children. Regardless of economic status, race, gender, academic or athletic ability, health, or behavioral issues thousands of children can and will stream through the doors of public education.
I wonder how many of us realize that a handful of very wealthy families actively spend time and money toward destroying public education? Dick DeVos, husband of Betsy DeVos, once said, “When given a clear choice, voters across the U.S. have consistently opposed school vouchers.” DeVos continued by asserting that the grassroots movement must be kept quiet. He suggested using the term “school choice” and spreading the idea one person at a time. Think tanks funded by Koch, Scaife, Bradley, Olin and other mega-donors claimed, “Because we know how the government schools perpetuate themselves, we can design a plan to dismantle them.” Dick and Betsy DeVos plan to execute this plan. Please understand this effort for what it is: a movement focused on total destruction of public education. Continue reading
When we allow fear to drive our decisions, we get fearful results. I have lived in this state all of my 75 years. Until the last decade, I have been a proud Texan. However, Texas’ consistent negligence of the welfare of children dismays me.
Reasons for Dismay
In 2011, the Texas Legislature cut more than $5 billion from public education. For the seventh time in the last twenty-five years, the Texas Supreme Court must convene for hearings on school finance. More than 600 districts currently seek assistance. Governor Abbott asks the judges to reverse the decision made by District Judge John Dietz who ruled in favor of schools a year ago. At that time, Judge Dietz stated that Texas needs an additional $2,000.00 per child to meet our own state standards. Continue reading
In an imperfect world, public education often becomes the target of complaints about the entire state of education. Although I realize faults exist within the system, I also recognize that amazing accomplishments, in the face of financial and social assault, exist. Rather than continuing to chastise public schools, we must ask, “What can we do to help the public system”?
One of the new bills approved by our Texas Legislators [House Bill 2804] proposes to assign letter grades ranging from A-F to public schools. Various people, not working within any public school system, applaud this bill believing it sheds light on the possible ineffectiveness of individual schools. Unfortunately, two major myths contributed to the development of this bill. Continue reading