It’s a little bit funny how Halloween and elections all happen in the same week. There are some pretty scary folks running for office this November, and there are a lot of critical issues on the table. Everything from bonds to raise your taxes even more to build rails on routes that will do little or nothing to ease commuter traffic nightmares to people running for office who will destroy our schools and permanently place Texas children behind just about everybody else in the nation!
Senate Education Committee chair Dan Patrick, the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor, already has been nailed by the news reporters at Texas PolitiFact for falsely claiming that he “led the charge” to restore the $5.4 billion that was cut from public education in 2011. His actual role, as PolitiFact noted in giving the claim a “Pants on Fire” rating for falsehood, was not only to vote for the cuts in 2011 but also to vote against restoring some of the funding in 2013. If you don’t know PoltiFact, let me introduce you. Spend a little time getting to know this site, and you come away with more facts and less fiction!
Patrick used his chairmanship of the education panel chiefly to promote bogus “reforms,” including private-school vouchers that would have diverted still more funding from public schools to subsidize unaccountable private schools. He is the enemy of public education in Texas, and all teachers and friends and families of teachers MUST vote in the upcoming election.
In a public appearance last week held by the online Texas Tribune, Patrick used a new approach on the issue of the unprecedented education funding cuts in 2011. Without retreating from his false claim that he “led the charge” to restore funding, Patrick added a new false claim by saying, “The cuts didn’t really matter because “the schools survived, and we did fine.” Well, what do you say to that? The hubris. The denial. The ignorance. The jumbo sized lie.
Anyone who was paying attention to the real consequences of those cuts will remember…
–the elimination of more than 10,000 teaching positions in our schools;
–more than 25,000 school jobs lost overall;
–an increase of more than threefold in the number of overcrowded classrooms in grades K-4, –not to mention ballooning class sizes at other grade levels;
–the loss of fine arts programs across the state;
–total elimination of $200 million in state grants for full-day pre-K; and
–elimination of an even larger amount earmarked to help students struggling to pass state-mandate exams from third grade on up.
Even after the partial restoration of state aid to school districts that Patrick opposed last year, average annual per-pupil funding remains $600 below the 2008 level in real, inflation-adjusted dollars. The damage done to our public schools since the deep cuts of 2011, on top of the harm caused by an already inadequate funding base, led a state district judge last month to hold the entire state system of school finance unconstitutional. But in Dan Patrick’s view “the schools survived and we did just fine.”
Don’t miss the debate on September 29 as a chance for Texas educators, students, and families to see the stark difference between Dan Patrick and Leticia Van de Putte, as candidates for lieutenant governor, on the number-one constitutional responsibility of state government: providing for the public education that is the gateway of opportunity for more than five million students enrolled in our public schools.
You can watch the debate this coming Monday, September 29th, at 7 PM Central, across most of the state on the following television channels (provided by AFT), and then get up and get out to those polls. The lame excuse that your one vote makes no difference becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when you do not participate and do your civic duty. They are counting on lots of folks doing nothing. That apathy keeps “ them” in office and lines their pockets. Do not underestimate the power of the masses when unified and determined to make things better.
KACV-TV Amarillo 2.1 PBS LIVE www.kacv.org
KLRU-TV Austin 18.1 PBS LIVE www.klru.org
KVUE-TV Austin 24.1 ABC Delayed to 10/5 at 3pm, Streamed live www.kvue.com
KTBC-TV Austin 7.1 FOX Streamed www.myfoxaustin.com
KXAN-TV Austin 36.1 NBC Streamed www.kxan.com
KEYE-TV Austin 42.1 CBS Streamed www.keyetv.com
KERA-TV Dallas-Ft. Worth 13.1 PBS LIVE www.keraorg
KDFW-TV Dallas-Ft. Worth 4.1 FOX Streamed www.myfoxdfw.com
KUHT-TV Houston 8.1 PBS LIVE www.houstonpublicmedia.org
KIAH-TV Houston 39.1 CW Streamed www.CW39.com
KRIV-TV Houston 26.1 FOX Streamed www.myfoxhouston.com
KLRN-TV San Antonio 9.1 PBS LIVE www.klrn.org
KABB-TV San Antonio 29.1 FOX Streamed www.foxsanantonio.com
WOAI-TV San Antonio 4.1 NBC Streamed www.news4sanantonio.com
KENS-TV San Antonio 5.1 CBS Streamed www.kens5.com