September 29, 2010

Sand castles

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been on TV a lot lately. Even though he is running ahead in the polls, I guess Bill White is getting a bit too close for comfort so Goodhair is shelling out some of those bucks the oil and insurance companies have been giving him.

I just watched his newest ad, in which he "confronts" President Obama and takes credit for "keeping our border safe." It hasn't hit You Tube yet or I'd show it. A previous ad had birds and butterflies flittering around, with Goodhair showing his dental work bragging about the wonderful state of the Texas economy.

If only it were true.

Just taking the example of education in Texas we can see where 10 years of Perry leadership has gotten us. For example, our K-12 public schools have performed so poorly that our high schools are now required to implement a fourth year of science. We have a new TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills), but thanks to the creationist wingnuts on our State Board of Education, some of these have no foundation in science.

There is no money for textbooks. For some unexplained reason a Senate proclamation that would have provided money for new science textbooks was not adopted by the State Board of Education. Next year, as a requirement of graduation, there will be end-of-course exams for Biology, Algebra, English and World Geography, but there is no funding for testing.

At a minimum Texas schools have an $18 million budget deficit, and the TEA (Texas Education Agency) is recommending cutting $260 million in education programs, including eliminating money for new science labs (required by the new science requirement), teacher mentoring, teacher professional development, and new textbooks.

Are we kidding ourselves? If we are serious about graduating students from Texas public schools we are going to have to find the money somewhere to ensure we have the trained personnel, facilities and instructional materials to make that happen.

Rick Perry, it seems, is not interested, and Bill White is the only candidate for Texas Governor talking about fixing it.