Day: <span>April 1, 2015</span>

Rating legislative performances on the A-F scale


You may have heard by now that the state Senate this week approved a worse-than-worthless piece of legislation, the bill to submit public school campuses to an A-F grading system. It’s worthless because it would do absolutely nothing to give teachers and students the support they need for success. And, it is worse-than-worthless because it is a contrived political maneuver to blame teachers and students for the failure of the legislative majority to provide an adequate and fair system of funding public schools.

But, while we are on the subject of grading performances, what kind of letter grades should be attached to some of the performances over at the Capitol?

Let’s start with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the biggest and loudest promoter of the A-F scheme and several other bad ideas being considered by lawmakers under the guise of “education reform.” How about his vote four years ago to cut $5.4 billion from public school budgets and his follow-up play two years ago to vote against the entire state budget, including all education funding?

I think you may see where I am headed. The possibilities are many, but in the interest of space I will offer only a few other grading opportunities:

# Sen. Donna Campbell, the voucher advocate who called our public school system a “monstrosity.”

# The Senate majority, which approved – in the name of student “safety” — a bill to allow people to carry handguns on university campuses, over the objections of many university administrators.

# Dan Patrick (again), who insisted the Senate approve more than $4 billion in tax cuts before appropriating a dime for public schools, health care or any other public service. And the Senate majority, which gave him what he wanted.

# Patrick and other border “security” advocates, who have let traffic and crime enforcement in most of Texas slide while loading up a small stretch of the Mexican border with state troopers.

# Rep. Stuart Spitzer (a medical doctor, no less), who succeeded in diverting $3 million from HIV and STD prevention programs to sex education programs promoting abstinence.

Whatever grade you may want to give Spitzer’s priorities, he may deserve an “A” for honesty, however, for noting, during public debate, that he was a 29-year-old virgin when he met his wife. It may have been the first time, ever, that such a statement was uttered on the floor of the Texas House.