When postponing the correct budgetary choice – which they often do – Texas legislators sometimes talk about “kicking the can down the road,” or putting off for another 10 or 20 years what they should do now. This past session, a more-accurate characterization of what the legislative majority did would be “kicking the kids down the road.”
Under-funded public schools and an under-funded foster care system are among numerous examples of this attitude that can be found in the current state budget. And the lengthy Texas Tribune story linked below describes another example, harmful cuts – worth about $350 million in state and federal funds — to the state’s Early Childhood Intervention Program.
This program provides essential services to children with significant health and development problems, and their number is growing. But these kids’ and their families’ cries were drowned out last year by the business community’s demands for tax reductions and the tea party’s demands for spending cuts.
The children and their needs, however, aren’t going away. Pretty soon, many of them will be in public school classrooms, and they will continue to need special attention, maybe even more attention as they grow older.
“As ECI (Early Childhood Intervention) services take a hit, our elementary schools should plan on providing expensive special education to more students,” said Stephanie Rubin, the chief executive of Texans Care for Children, an advocacy group.
Schools and educators, although under-funded, will be ready. But there is something inherently wrong with a state policy that would rather “kick kids down the road” than address their needs now.