Day: <span>May 12, 2015</span>

Courting business leaders, ignoring educators


As most of us already know, there is little, if any, barrier between big money and state government in Texas, but Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has blurred the distinction even more, if that is possible. Patrick has regular, private, invitation-only calls with handpicked business leaders and donors, apparently to make sure he isn’t overlooking anything his political supporters and benefactors may want.

“Why wouldn’t I want to learn from and communicate with the job creators? Why would we want to pass legislation that might impact our economy in a negative way?” he asked, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

Business experts are just that, business experts, and the first interest of most of them is the interest of their own companies and industries, which may or may not represent the best interests of consumers or the state as a whole.

Yes, business people are job creators, but there wouldn’t be many qualified people to fill decent jobs without educators. And, the lieutenant governor also claims to want to improve education, although he has made a career of undermining the public schools at every opportunity, including a seemingly endless stream of bad school privatization legislation this session.

If Patrick really wants to improve education, why doesn’t he initiate some phone calls with educators? I mean real educators – teachers, principals, superintendents — not the voucher advocates and other self-styled “experts” whose only interest in the public schools is profiting from their tax dollars.

Why wouldn’t he, as he put it, want to “learn from and communicate” with the real education experts?

The truth is that he doesn’t. And that’s a shame.