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What happens in a state controlled and dominated by Republicans?  In particular how do they deal with budget deficits?  Do they raise taxes?  Of course not.  What they do is literally starve public schools of funding.  This year the Texas Legislature cut $5.4 Billion dollars (via the New York Times) from the state's budget for previously dedicated to public schools.  Those budget cuts went into effect this year and will continue next year.

Texas has 1,264 public school districts.  Here are some of the consequences of preserving tax cuts for corporations and the uber-rich, and passing the cost of balancing budgets onto the backs' of Texas' public school children and their families according to the NY Times report:

  • Eliminating bus services:  Many districts, to save money have simply stopped providing bus services to children who live within a two mile radius of their school.  For many children this means that they spend up to an hour or more walking to and from school each day.  Other school districts have started charging parents a fee (up to $355 per year for one district) for children who are bused.  Others now sell advertising space on the side of school buses.
  • Thousands of teachers, school librarians and even school nurses have been laid off. Janitorial staff has also been cut in many school districts with teachers expected to take over those duties on days janitors are unavailable.
  • Class sizes have grown to as many as 40 or more kids per class.  
  • Some districts  have simply shut down certain elementary schools entirely, with the children reassigned to the remaining schools.
  • Arts and Music programs are being eliminated.
  • Fees for participation in athletics or other after school activities are now frequently charged to parents if their children wish to participate in them.
  • Field Trips are a thing of the past.

“It’s almost like slow death,” said the [Hutto School District] superintendent, Douglas Killian, during a visit to Veterans’ Hill, where the classrooms are now used by adults as part of a higher education center run by Temple College and Texas State Technical College. “We’re being picked apart. It’s made a tremendous morale issue in the district. I’ve noticed that folks are a lot more on edge.”

So what do the Republicans politicians who authorized these drastic cuts have to say for themselves?  Not much.  No big deal, they say.  

Several lawmakers in the Republican-controlled Legislature have played down the impact of the $5.4 billion in cuts on schools statewide. In an interview in February with The Dallas Morning News, Gov. Rick Perry said he saw no need for a special legislative session to restore some of the education funding that was eliminated last year and said the schools were receiving an adequate amount of money.

I wonder of the parents, teachers and kids who attend Texas' public schools agree with Governor Rick Perry's assessment of the effect of these cuts or with Superintendent Killian's perception that the Texas Legislature is essentially starving public education, in essence killing the viability of Texas' public schools, this destroying the very idea that Government should provide universal public education to all its citizens.  These cuts don't just effect black kids or Hispanic kids, but all children who attend public schools.  The quality of the education that is being offered by Texas' public schools is being degraded even as the schools are required, by law, to meet ever more stringent testing standards.

Texas public schools spend $8,908 per student, a decrease of $538 from the previous year and below the national average of $11,463, according to the National Education Association. California spent $9,710 and New York $15,592.

I feel fortunate I live in New York State.  My son and now my daughter attend great public schools, schools that are the equal of the best private schools in our region.  But, the Republican agenda, even here, is to eliminate funding for teachers and schools as much as possible.  Raising taxes on wealthy bankers and hedge fund managers or on corporations is not even a consideration that is discussed, even in this so-called bastion of ulta-liberal elites.  Now imagine what would  happen to New York Schools if Republicans had their way, as they mow do in Texas and many other states.  Would my school district offer music and art classes?  Would bus service be eliminated? How many Advanced Placement classes would be available for gifted kids?  How many special education teachers would be retained?  How many school counselors would be out of a job?

How would our children learn anything of value under such conditions?

Look at what is happening in Texas and in other states where Republican controlled state governments have cut funding for public schools and promoted the privatization of education.  That is the path Republicans want to take with respect to our children.  Their ultimate goal is to make public education a thing of the past, and allow only the 1% to send the children to good schools and good universities.  Republicans are not just waging a war on the poor, the middle class, the sick (attacking health care reform), the elderly or on women, but they are also waging a war on our children, and by extension a war on the future of our nation.

Texas is but one example, but a very revealing one.  And anyone who thinks this war won't effect them because they are white is sadly mistaken.  Only the rich will prosper in the world Republicans are in the process of creating.  The rest of us will live blighted lives, nasty, brutish and short.

Also available at Booman Tribune

Originally posted to Steven D on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 01:01 PM PDT.

Also republished by TexKos-Messing with Texas with Nothing but Love for Texans, State & Local ACTION Group, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Wait a minute?! (8+ / 0-)

    I thought Perry was touting gains made byTexas students and a narrowing of the achievement gap.
    You get what you pay for.

    •  See my comment below (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Deep Texan

      Matt Yglesias says Texas has good schools, at least relative to the nation. So Perry can brag about that.

      People panic too much on this site.

      by thematt523 on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 01:40:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Except that (10+ / 0-)

        Like most of the good things in Texas, that's in spite of, not because of Perry.

        27, white male, TX-26 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

        by TDDVandy on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 07:05:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lujane, jilikins

          sound like Romney with his not wanting people to give Obama any credit. It simply doesn't matter. If you are in charge of something when something good happens, you can claim credit. Even if you don't claim anything, people will still give you the credit.

          Just as Democrats learned with saying that the economy would be worse without the stimulus, or Romney saying the economy would be better without Obama, it's impossible to prove a counter-factual.

          People panic too much on this site.

          by thematt523 on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 07:14:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  There are some very good public schools... (12+ / 0-)

        ...in Texas.  In particular, some of the suburban school districts in the Dallas area are outstanding.

        Those same school districts are facing budget cuts of more than 8% this fall, courtesy of the jackasses in Austin.  Contrary to Republican propoganda, that's going to hurt the quality of those schools, which will eventually no longer be able to maintain their past levels of quality.

        Of course the voters in those school districts will still continue to vote for Republican legislators, and most of them will never admit the connection between who they're sending to Austin and the deterioration of their local schools.

        Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

        by TexasTom on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 07:24:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The decline hasn't been fully realized yet, (7+ / 0-)

          of course.  It will take time for the effects to be felt.  But Rick Perry will be long gone.  The only ones who care will be parents who send their children to the worse schools that result.  NCLB will result in labeling all public schools as failing by 2014 when 100% of the students must score proficient on their bogus tests, an impossible feat, of course.  And the Repubs will have achieved their goal - they will have destroyed public confidence in one of our most important public institutions, our schools.  How you feel about that depends on where you stand on the political spectrum.  If you want our country to have public institutions that represent the best we can do - available to everyone, you won't be too happy.

  •  Republished to TexKos (13+ / 0-)

    where we always imagine that we've seen the very worst... and we're always mistaken.

    Some drink deeply from the river of knowledge. Others only gargle. -- Woody Allen

    by cassandracarolina on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 01:25:23 PM PDT

  •  Resource parochialism at the heart of it (12+ / 0-)

    If you talk with legislators from districts like Highland Park in Dallas, which is one of the more affluent in the state, you realize quickly that the overall problem for the entire reach of the Texas geography is that there are rich districts and poor districts and the legislature is not into playing referee.

    Even is the question is whether they would rather build schools or more penitentiaries, they go with the latter.  

    This comes from a deepset evangelical attitude that fate has ordained that some are more fortunate and others less and man should not intervene in this.  

    THe State Board of Education is made up of about 15 reps from districts across the state and has had a majority or near majority of evangelicals who are angry with "liberal education" and want to push the entire educational paradigm back away from what they think of as "radical" positions on every subject.

    These are what we mostly think of as contemporary progress in the advance of knowledge.  It represents the speeding up of things and an increased complexity, which one might be chagrined by indeed if one cannot keep up.  

    Most people are not arrogant enough to think they can repeal the conditions that speed our world up, but Texas evangelicals believe that is an absolute obligation.  

    Politicians go with the voters.  

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 01:36:50 PM PDT

    •  Rich districts, poor districts, and Robin Hood (6+ / 0-)
      Robin Hood. The state’s practice of collecting portions of property tax revenue from wealthier districts and redistributing it to poorer ones, also known as “recapture,” was a rallying cry for districts challenging the school finance system in a lawsuit that made its way through the courts from 2001 to 2005.

      Though Robin Hood has been a political flash point since its inception in 1993, it has now become settled law.

      http://www.texastribune.org/...

      Of course it hasn't solved school funding, so everybody's back in court over it - 5 law suits with separate motives/goals underway

      One consequence of lawmakers' $5.4 billion cut to Texas public schools? Five school finance lawsuits filed against the state, covering more than 500 districts and 3 million students.

      With the latest suit, filed Feb. 24 by a group called Texans for Real Efficiency and Equity in Education, comes a twist: The plaintiffs aren't school districts, but parents who support charter schools, bringing a new voice into courtrooms that until now have been populated with veterans of past school finance battles. Instead of challenging the state on whether it has given enough money to schools — a component of the four other lawsuits — it questions how that money is being spent

      http://www.texastribune.org/...

      from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

      by Catte Nappe on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 02:30:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Texas budget cuts... (9+ / 0-)

      ...aren't just starving the property poor school districts, but also the "wealthy" ones.  Highland Park, Richardson, Plano, McKinney, Allen, Frisco, Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISDs are all seeing big budget cuts.  These are also all school districts that have been high performing suburban districts in the past.  

      It turns out that Republicans legislators are more than willing to screw over their own constituents...who live in and send their kids to schools in these districts.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 07:26:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Actually (4+ / 0-)

    Texas right now has pretty good schools, at least relative to the national average. If anything, they are better than the national average. So Texans are doing something right.

    People panic too much on this site.

    by thematt523 on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 01:39:35 PM PDT

    •  Doesn't look like bragging rights to me (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Iberian, happymisanthropy, COBALT1928

      from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

      by Catte Nappe on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 02:18:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  They won't be good for long, and they could be (4+ / 0-)

      better. Furthermore, there will be a greater gap between wealthy and poor districts.

      I'd rather have a buntle afrota-me than a frottle a bunta-me.

      by David54 on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 02:44:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's capitalism, red in tooth and claw: (10+ / 0-)

        You're supposed to make enough money to get your children into private schools in Texas, unless you live in an extremely wealthy enclave such as Highland Park in which case the public schools will be just fine. Otherwise, you and your children can just go to hell. There is no sense at all that every child is precious and deserves to be challenged intellectually and to learn all that is possible.
        I hate to have to say that, as a Texan.

        I could have been a soldier... I had got part of it learned; I knew more about retreating than the man that invented retreating. --Mark Twain

        by NogodsnomastersMary on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 07:16:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Complete crap. Texas is more responsible for the (7+ / 0-)

      steady decline of the American educational that any other state by far. It's no feat to "hold your own" is a disaster that you created.

      A nation of illiterate ignoramuses is the result of Texas being allowed to exist in this union, so don't even try claiming any credit for not being as bad as others.

      "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

      by Greyhound on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 04:59:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good test scores are not the same as (15+ / 0-)

      good schools.

      Texas schools have been obsessed with raising test scores for a couple of decades to the neglect of anything not covered on the tests. W's imposition of the crappy Texas model on the nation gave us No Child Left Behind. Now we have a bunch of people who can bubble-in answer sheets on simplistic reading and math tests, but have little ability for critical thinking, communication, or understanding of science. They are unable to solve real world problems that require persistence, collection of data, or measurement. And forget about the arts and humanities.

      •  Maybe (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mkoz

        but doing better on the test than their national brethren cannot be considered a negative.

        People panic too much on this site.

        by thematt523 on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 07:04:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  But, but... where is the happy ending? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        drklassen, mkoz, moiv

        Never mind, thus far there is no happy ending.

        But there is more to be said. Your post stops short in telling the whole ugly story of who is responsible for the assault on public education/educators, or rather, it stops short at Texas and the tenure of GWB. (Not to mention the much more extreme posts, not yours, that are fuming over the toxic national climate re education, laying all of the blame, along with a bag of flaming shit, at Texas's doorstep.)

        GWB's tenure (which ushered the "Texas Miracle" onto the national stage), ended 4 years ago. And the education bipartisanship of Democrats and Republicans began (road to ruin) way before that - perhaps more than a decade ago, at the point where early into GWB's tenure, Ted Kennedy ambled over to the Oval Office for a movie and a hot dog and left with his stamp of approval on NCLB.)

        Where is the part where, almost 4 years ago, the white hat Democrats rode into town, to the rescue, on a majority, with a hope and change agent sheriff in the lead, to undo the bad that black hat GWB had done? (With Ted Kennedy's and the Democrats' blessing and cooperation on getting us NCLB, I reiterate.)

        Oh... dear. It didnt quite turn out like that.

        Obama, with deputy Education Secretary Duncan riding tall alongside him, and a willing posse of Democrat elected officials, national and statewide, has actually expanded George W Bush's NCLB, spreading it like Kudzu across the nation. Much of this has been achieved under the Trojan horse of Race to the Top, ie, monetary assistance to the states for schools IF they play by his rules. And those rules/laws are rightwing kudzu (Or should I say Texas Toast - now quite a ubiquitous foodstuff nationwide, it seems).

        Obama's desired education 'reform' laws were birthed in 34 state legislatures by Republicans (They like the new laws. They're up their alley. They're from their alley!) who linked arms with Democrats (now in their alley). Here, Obama achieved his  much-sought exemplar of commingled 'comity,' with this bipartisan education overhaul, driven by the the dangling RttT carrot($). To be against it was to be against funding for the children, for goodness sake! (So said the Wall Street hedge funders in commercials they spent their millions on, in NY, to push all the Dems and unions on board)

        But Obama's Race to the Top money is a booby prize, with its restrictions on usage and in its paltry amount - the price of the ticket far exceeds the win, a cost far too dear for those who must now perform under the warp of the 'reform' laws it ushered in. The 1% is the winner.

        That is where we are now, nationwide. To talk about the national assault on education/educators by pointing the finger only at Texas or only at GWB is, for me, the magnification of a crumb. It may be a particularly odious crumb, but it sure as hell aint the whole pie. And to turn a blind eye to the big picture, and who is driving it now, is just plain wrong.

        Unfortunately, this tendency to turn away when Democrats are driving bad policy, seems to be the rule rather than the exception among the Democratic base.

        Should a "progressive" Dem blog dwell in the safe zones of a lame party, or should it drive a lame party to break out? If it cant, should it break out?

        by NYCee on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 08:02:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NYCee, drklassen, moiv

          The current mess goes back to when a bunch of southern governors, including Clinton and GW Bush, got together and decided to focus on test scores as the the primary indicator of educational success. The policies implemented by the Clinton administration had the same faults as those of NCLB. They were just not as punitive or as seriously enforced. I remember cringing at Gore TV ads on education in 2000 where he called for increasing test scores.

          •  The democrats, led by Obama, have been whacking (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cocinero, moiv

            at public education and at one of the last bastions of a strong, well unionized workforce, which is behind it, with very little notice by their supporters, very little outcry or even occasional mention.

            It is sad to me. Steve is from NY and he doesnt even mention what Cuomo (I wont even start on Bloomberg) has been doing to cut funding and to implement rightwing education reforms. Cuomo dug his heels in on renewing the millionaires' tax, for crying out loud, until OWS made him finally compromise - much too little. (He gets a lot of real estate moguls' money) How about how hedge fund operatives straight out of Wall Street (linked up with the odious Democrats for Education Reform, a group now pushing for vouchers in several states) pushed and funded NY's drive to implement rightwing laws, (ostensibly) to win that booby prize, Race to the Top (trojan horse). Cuomo walks over union protections for teachers, to up the ante on the horrendous reform law voted in Albany, for Obama's RttT - pushing for tying teachers' evaluations to students test scores, even agreeing with publicizing the faulty ratings. It goes on. Most Democrats go along with the meat and potatoes of these reforms, just protesting over the parsley on the side - even their tied-at-the-hip union friends sell us out on things they stood 'strongly' against just a few scant years ago.

            Yet, all sanctified talk here of villains is about Perry or about Scott Walker. Or GWB or NCLB. Or Texas. Meanwhile, there are countless other enemies of unions and public ed, right under the D tent. Making bad things happen. Now. Expanding what bad was done under the Rs.

            It is amazing, how preferentially different the criticism is, when "your team" in holding the reins.

            Should a "progressive" Dem blog dwell in the safe zones of a lame party, or should it drive a lame party to break out? If it cant, should it break out?

            by NYCee on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 11:07:50 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes they have. (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              NYCee, Odysseus, moiv, Woody

              GW Bush gave us what didn't work in Texas. Now Obama and Arne Duncan are giving us what didn't work in Chicago. "Race to the Top" is just more of the same crap.

              Part of the problem may be the hubris of politicians. It's the "I went to school, so I understand what's wrong with education and how to fix it" attitude. It's like I've been to the doctor, so now I know how to do brain surgery.

              Education reform is complex and difficult. A lot of what makes effective teaching and learning is not well understood even by the experts. A lot is the sociology of the classroom and school. Then there is the lack of clarity about the purposes of education and the tendency to narrow the focus to trivia like "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire" questions.

              Ready to pounce, there are the ed-business corporations, including test makers, who are looking for ways to profit and who are willing to contribute to campaigns.

    •  How long will that be true... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      COBALT1928, jilikins

      ...with these budget cuts?  Seriously, 8% budget cuts are pretty damned painful.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 07:27:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm pretty sure that that will change, if (0+ / 0-)

      draconian cuts continue.

  •  I have "family" in Texas (17+ / 0-)

    and, indeed, they say there should be no public education.  They think parents should pay for private education and if you can't afford it, oh, well, sad for you!

    How else can you keep up prejudices?  Knowledge is power - they don't want the 99% to have knowledge because that might lead them to usurp the 1% power, oh, my!

    love the fetus, hate the child

    by Raggedy Ann on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 02:16:30 PM PDT

  •  i work for a school district in Central California (5+ / 0-)

    every cut on the list, except ads on the busses, has been going on here for the last three years.

  •  A stupid populace is an easily controlled one (11+ / 0-)

    Democracies don't work with an ill-informed electorate... hrm, seems treasonous doesn't it.

    NOW SHOWING
    Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
    Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

    by The Dead Man on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 06:33:04 PM PDT

  •  I actually think charging for bus service is (8+ / 0-)

    not a bad idea, especially if the student lives within 1 mile or a mile and a quarter from school.  That's 4 laps around the track.

    As for Texas...it already ranks dead last, 51st actually, in terms of number of adults with a high school diploma.  That speaks volumes about Texas politics, but it would seem to make it a target poor environment for a war on public education.

    "By your late thirties the ground has begun to grow hard. It grows harder and harder until the day that it admits you.” Thomas McGuane, Nobody's Angel

    by Keith930 on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 06:33:07 PM PDT

    •  Yeah (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Keith930, Lujane, jilikins

      Hell, considering the childhood obesity rate, telling the kids who live within a mile of the school to hoof it really isn't a bad idea.

      27, white male, TX-26 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

      by TDDVandy on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 07:04:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I went to google maps for my old Elementary (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jilikins, Odysseus

        School in Hayward, California.  It was 1.4 miles from where we lived, and nobody took the bus.  There was no bus.  I left home each morning and joined up with a buddy 3 houses down, and we joined up with another buddy...repeat and rinse, until we were a group of about ten walking together to school each day, and home each afternoon.

        And it wasn't an hour...unless we got distracted.

        "By your late thirties the ground has begun to grow hard. It grows harder and harder until the day that it admits you.” Thomas McGuane, Nobody's Angel

        by Keith930 on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 07:19:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Cutting budgets may be a bad thing, but (0+ / 0-)

          I can't cry if children have to walk an hour to school.  Firstly, it shouldn't take you an hour to walk 2 miles.  If it does, you really need the walk!

          •  Road to school from our house (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            drklassen, Odysseus, Heiuan

            Is 50 mph with no sidewalk or even shoulder. It's not safe even for an adult.

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 12:57:35 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Which is a whole different issue. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Woody

              All communities should be walkable.  Period.

              -7.75 -4.67

              "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

              There are no Christians in foxholes.

              by Odysseus on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 06:08:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  In this area, you can understand why it wasn't a (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Odysseus, Woody

                priority. But, it's sad that for example there's not a nice wide path for walking, biking, and horseback riding next to the road. It's a place where you might actually use it both for recreation and transportation, and it's a gorgeous place to walk or ride.

                Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                by elfling on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 09:03:04 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  And therein lies one of the real problems. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Woody

              I remember walking to the bus stop when I was in school.  It took me about 20 - 25 minutes to make the just shy of 2-mile walk.  Today though, my daughter doesn't walk to school, even though we're only about a mile from the school.  There's no place safe for her to walk.  Seems to me that about 30 years ago, the PTB quit putting sidewalks next to the streets when they developed an area.  That led to lots of buses and lots of local-area cars going to the schools as I don't know many parents who let their kids play in traffic on a regular basis.

              It would also be interesting to see if there is any correlation between this trend and the booming childhood obesity rate.  I know correlation isn't causation, but still...

              “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’” — Isaac Asimov via John Cole

              by Heiuan on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 06:36:39 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  When I was young (0+ / 0-)

        that was the standard used where I lived in Maryland.  My kids grew up in a different county and I recall seeing the bus stop right across the street from the school (admittedly a busy road) pick up a child, then turn left into the school parking lot.  We used to have crossing guards for that but I guess it's cheaper to have the bus stop than to pay the crossing guard.

        •  We used to have red lights and crosswalks (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lujane

          for that.  I guess that's analog technology now.

          "By your late thirties the ground has begun to grow hard. It grows harder and harder until the day that it admits you.” Thomas McGuane, Nobody's Angel

          by Keith930 on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 10:31:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  What sidewalks? (0+ / 0-)

      Texas is not known for it's walkability. I am always surprised by the lack of sidewalks.

      In California, you can charge for buses but not field trips, athletics, or activities. However, you cannot charge kids on free or reduced lunch for bus service. In our area, with districts running > 75% reduced lunch, charging for bus service doesn't pencil out.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 12:54:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A very dear friend of my teaches in (6+ / 0-)

    the Lubbuck public school system. The horror stories I've listened over the years! The worst had to be when my friend's name appeared on a list like this:

    LISD 2009 "Hogs at The Trough" Vol.21

    My friend is just counting down the two years left until fully vested in the pension, and then out of there!

    Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people. -- Eleanor Roosevelt

    by hungrycoyote on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 06:34:57 PM PDT

    •  Teachers start at $40,117 (0+ / 0-)

      Wonder what pay for cops? Firemen? For farmers receiving subsidies?

      And that handful of "hogs" pulling down salaries as high as $100,000, wonder how many advanced degrees and how many years of experience, or how high a rank of administrator overseeing how many teachers and how many students.

      What a hate-full little site that linked to.

  •  Not to mention (7+ / 0-)

    The schools in Texas are required, by the State Board of Education, to teach misinformation.

    For example, a friend of mine talked to an 8th-grade social studies teacher who said that she teaches her students that states have the Constitutional right to nullify federal laws.  (Apparently Rick Perry is writing the textbooks himself!)

    Also, while our schools are laying off teachers, they do have the funding to build $60 million, 18,000-seat football stadiums.

    27, white male, TX-26 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

    by TDDVandy on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 07:03:29 PM PDT

  •  Local ISD is part of the lawsuit against the state (8+ / 0-)

    We're in the suburbs of the DFW area, and our ISD is one of many suing the state.    

    The education system in TX does not inspire confidence.  The SBOE (State Board of Education) is the start of the problems, and it only continues down the line.  I could chronicle the worst of it, but what do I accomplish by it?

    The cuts remind me of some I saw when growing up in Ohio, but others just leave me baffled.  One of the local districts was planning on charging bus riders a $250 fee per child.  The same district was keeping it's 7 football teams for  one of it's high schools.  7!  My school back in the days of the dinosaurs had 2.  JV and Varsity.

    We've had some discussions about fleeing the state by time the kids get to high school, for their education.  And we are in one of the 'better' school districts.  

  •  Our school in MI cut bus service for those within (5+ / 0-)

    2 miles back in the late 80s... the main road to the school from our place had no sidewalk for quite a ways... including the blind curve with a 50 speed limit on one side of it... No way.
    So along with some vigorous objecting we found a short cut through the woods...oh but I couldn't let them do that alone when hunting season came. I walked with them and then walked on to work...
    but we still remember the start of the song we made up to sing loudly as we went into and through the woods
    WE ARE PEOPLE WE AREN'T DEER
    TELL YOU WHAT WE'RE DOING HERE...
    With winter coming there would be no good option but we got the policy changed...
    ah memories

    But there is a real problem with school funding all over... budgets based on property tax sure took a hit lately.
    Between the demonizing of teachers/public employees, the financial hits, the lay offs, the uncertainty, the larger classes it is a tough time to be a teacher
    or a student

    I thought the diary might be about the other Texas problem... with new curriculum or textbooks.

  •  As Sis likes to say, "Every dollar cut from the (8+ / 0-)

    education budget breeds another Republican." She lives in TX, by the way.

  •  I have kids in the public schools in Austin (9+ / 0-)

    And this diary may actually understate the damage being done. The R's really do plan to destroy the public schools.  Or at least leave a broken shell for the poor while the middle class (of what's left of it) gets herded into corporate schools.  

    Of course the big question is whether enough people are mad enough about it to outvote the millions in the mega-churches receiving their voting orders from the pulpit.  The word sociopathic would be kind for Republicans in Texas.

    The R's in the legi refused to even total up the tax give-aways handed out to the wealthy.  Not one shred of evidence supports the claim that the economy functions better because of tax subsidies for the wealthy.  

    The Long War is not on Iraq, Afghanistan, or Iran. It is on the American people.

    by Geonomist on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 04:14:49 AM PDT

  •  Here in Huber Heights, Ohio (Dayton) It's happenin (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jilikins, Steven D, moiv

      So this is truly an attack on public schools as we know it. This is pre-meditated and calculated while good students like our 10 year old daughter suffers. She's trying to run a campaign to bring back her arts and music programs for next year. I will write more about it on a personal posting.

       This is sad, scary, and one of the more sickening things I've seen the conservatives do yet. I think they are undermining the Republic if you ask me.

    "Time to eat all your words, swallow your pride, open your eyes..." --Tears for Fears (Seeds of Love)

    by Abacab on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 04:29:40 AM PDT

  •  Wouldn't want to forget about (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jilikins, Steven D

    Bush and Paige cooking the books

    http://www.cbsnews.com/...

    "I Welcome Their Hatred." - FDR

    by dehrha02 on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 04:37:32 AM PDT

  •  GOP wants to shrink, not eliminate, public schools (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    anninla, salmo, drklassen, Odysseus, moiv

    This is not my theory but the story as told to a group of about 40 GOTV volunteers by two of Wisconsin's brave Democratic Senators who fled to Illinois in February 2011.

    The GOP goal is not to eliminate public schools. That would not serve their goal for new Jim Crow days. If public schools were closed, then those icky working-class and minority children would also go to private schools. No, the goal is to create a two-tier school system ... both paid for out of your pocket not out of rich pockets.

    The existing public school system is to be starved down to 1/3 or 1/2 its current size. These public schools would be used as the dumping ground for poor kids, for problem students, and for those wil learning disabilities. Put another way, public schools are to play the role of the carpet and the unfortunate kids are to be swept underneath and there forgotten.

    Meanwhile the government will supply vouchers (paid for by middle class wallets) in order to send "good students" [cough] white [cough] to the private school of their choice. What a great deal if you were sending your kid to Highsnoot Academy anyway. This way a plumber can pay for the hedge manager's private schooling. God knows hedge managers are barely scraping by.

    So there you go. The GOP intent is much more nefarious than merely eliminating public schools. It is an attempt to turn huge swaths of America into gated communities ... with those obnoxious "Americas" on the outside.

  •  This is the 1st step in a plan (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Steven D, drklassen, Odysseus, moiv

    to almost completely privatize education. It was just done in Louisiana. Gov Jindal 1st starved the public education system due to "budget concerns." Then he waged a war on teachers as the cause of our "failing schools." Then, with the help of ALEC written bills/plans, he has instituted a voucher/scholarship/charter school system. Teachers lost tenure, and their pay will be tied to students' test scores. Private, for-profit, school management companies will come in to run the numerous charter schools....which do not have to serve all applicants. Charters can pick and choose, and can discriminate. In fact, one school-management company told a hearing she would NOT be applying for a charter because the state Dept of Ed would NOT allow her to discriminate against gay students. Immediately, a bill was proposed to allow charters to discriminate against gays and "other factors." This bill is being pushed by our state Focus on Families group. Ugh. Massive amount of money that was spent on public education can now be moved to private, Catholic schools (most religious schools in LA are Catholic) where the previously public students will now receive religious education, Bible studies, few science classes. There will be almost NO oversight for charters and private schools. The "undesirable" students (low GPAs, low socio-economic status, gay or perceived gay, handicapped, Special Ed, parents with undesirable backgrounds) will be left in the already-failing public school system, much reduced. It was the largest transfer of public tax money into private hands in our state's history, and our system will end up being segregated once again. It is a catastrophe.  Good luck in Texas.

    This whole world's wild at heart and weird on top....Lula

    by anninla on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 08:29:04 AM PDT

  •  Everyone puts a price tag on Education (0+ / 0-)

    Despite study after study on what education costs and where cuts can be made, why does no one accomplish an extensive and scientifically defendable study on what ignorance costs this nation, both in the short term and the long term?  I am sure the conclusions would justify not the cutting of education budgets, but doubling or tripling of the same.

    "When a man moves away from nature his heart becomes hard" Lakota Proverb

    by balrog on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 08:35:25 AM PDT

  •  Reminder: TX Pubic Universities (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Steven D, drklassen, mkoz

      Are also under attack.  The TPPF used an ALEC similar legislation to divide Research from Teaching.  Their "logic" was that there are sufficient private schools that can do research - disregarding the concept that faculty can do both and a wider range of research.
        The TPPF came up with Sevev Break though Solutions - which was panned by most.
         Today, the UT system announced that a different commission would be formed by a set of Business People to assess how to better make the system financially viable, by looking at the "business culture" - such as parking, food service, etc.  Sounds like more privatization, as one of the groups mentioned as contributing members is from TPG Capital ( venture capitalist).

        IMO, when one states that the only purpose for a college education is to  obtain a "degree" - and that becomes the conventional wisdom then we may end up with a bunch of training schools and individuals have become "units" without an curiosity of anything outside their chosen area of study.   Students in State Colleges/Universities will be mere "units" - a term used by the Private Prison Groups to describe their interest in those being held there.

    •  Yesterday I read about some loan or grant program (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      moiv, Woody

      students in the UT system that have to promise not to take more than 5 or 6 credits beyond the requirements for their degree in order to get the no interest or the loan forgiven whatever the carrot was.  I'm not sure if this is system-wide as my son goes to UT at San Antonio.

      Here I was trying to encourage him to try other classes to see if something else "lights his fire" more than the major he picked on a whim and could care less about.  Silly me thinking that a liberal education was still a viable concept.

      This is so not Kansas anymore!

      by mkoz on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 05:23:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There was a special election in my district (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Steven D

    to raise the property tax to help fill the hole, it was defeated primarily due to a misinformation robocall campaign by a group that is not even in the same district.

    My son and dozens of other student marched to the learning center in my district to protest the teacher layoff, they all received detention for their efforts.

    Reach for the sky, Touch the sky, Revive a hope, For Mankind!

    by Greatwyrm on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 10:21:07 AM PDT

  •  Link to Krugmans article (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Steven D

    Reach for the sky, Touch the sky, Revive a hope, For Mankind!

    by Greatwyrm on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 10:26:47 AM PDT

    •  From Krugman (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus
      And in low-tax, low-spending Texas, the kids are not all right. The high school graduation rate, at just 61.3 percent, puts Texas 43rd out of 50 in state rankings. Nationally, the state ranks fifth in child poverty; it leads in the percentage of children without health insurance. And only 78 percent of Texas children are in excellent or very good health, significantly below the national average.
      Not very compassionate are they.

      "If you tell the truth, you'll eventually be found out." Mark Twain

      by Steven D on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 10:58:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's even worse (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Woody

        when you break down that 61.3% graduation rate by ethnicity, and discover that only 58 percent of Latinos complete high school, compared with 78 percent of non-Hispanic whites.

        Now consider that Hispanics compose 38% of the state’s 25.1 million people, up from 32 percent a decade ago.

        At the same time, demographers say, the growth in the population of white people who are not Hispanic has slowed markedly, rising by only 4 percent. Non-Hispanic whites now make up just 45 percent of the Texas population, down from 52 percent in 2000. Blacks continue to be about 11 percent of the state’s population.

        “It’s not just a sea change, it’s a tipping point,” said State Senator Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio, where about two-thirds of the residents are Hispanic. “San Antonio looks like what Texas is going to look like in 15 years.”

        All of which makes that 42% dropout rate look a lot bigger, doesn't it?

        Thanks for a great diary, Steven.  And it's nice to "see" you.

        "Texas is going to shrink government until it fits into a woman's uterus." -- Texas State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte

        by moiv on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 08:36:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  They want segregation back (0+ / 0-)

    They don't like their children finding out that children of other races and creeds are a lot like them, because then their children won't stomp on others when they grow up.

    Please sign the White House petition to Flush Rush from AFN (Armed Forces Network).

    by splashy on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 10:42:41 AM PDT

    •  I don't understand who the "theys" are in your (0+ / 0-)

      comment. Surely you aren't talking about general Texans are you?

      This is so not Kansas anymore!

      by mkoz on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 05:24:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "they" are the Repubs & crazies (0+ / 0-)

        Those who are pushing this stuff are not Texans, but rather the members of an almost cult-like political party with heavy religious overtones. (See the comment above about 'reforms' in Louisiana.)

        And as a native-born Texan, I wholehearted agree with splashy that the driving force is "their" wish to separate their white children from the now-integrated public schools.

  •  Generalities and realities (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, moiv, Woody

    I live in a suburb of Dallas. My kids attend public schools. My mother, brother, and wife have taught in Texas public schools. Not all Texas schools are bad, just like not all Texans are bad people. The bigger problems that we face are the lack of a way to pay for better schools since there's no state income tax (and increasing property taxes gets everyone upset), the legislature's complete lack of foresight on budgetary issues, and that thanks to NCLB, our kids spend at least a sixth of the school year preparing for tests. Who benefits? Consultants and textbook publishers. Who loses? The teachers AND the students. Who should be challenged heavily in the next election? Any Republican member of the State Board of Education.

  •  Yes it is a big deal (0+ / 0-)

    It's putting ideology above kids. It is despicable that parents are being forced to pay massive sums to send their kids to public schools, and it is even more despicable that the GOP enablers of these irresponsible policies and budget cuts seem to think it's no big deal. I hope folks like me really show these GOP nut cases how idiotic their policies are by expelling them from their posts in November.

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." --Gandhi

    by alaprst on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 02:48:52 PM PDT

  •  You can thank Ross Perot for the basis (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Woody

    of NCLB...

    Silence = Consent. Don't be silent any longer

    by doingbusinessas on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 03:38:47 PM PDT

    •  Brought business practices to the schools (0+ / 0-)

      So now they can measure the little widgets as they move along the assembly line -- the speeded up assembly line.

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