Day: <span>May 11, 2016</span>

Dan Patrick: schoolyard bully


My recollection is that Texas voters in 2014 elected Dan Patrick lieutenant governor, not bully-in-chief. But the super-charged ideologue with an ego to match can’t help himself.

A couple of weeks ago Patrick was publicly bullying a county judge who wanted to temporarily raise property taxes to keep his community safe. Now, this week, he tried to bully a school superintendent for adopting a restroom policy to accommodate the preferences of transgender children.

I applaud the superintendent, Kent Scribner of Fort Worth ISD, for refusing to back down in the face of the lieutenant governor’s demogoguery and politically driven hysteria. Patrick claims such transgender accommodations endanger public safety. They don’t.

The school children of Texas have nothing to fear from their transgender classmates. But all school children and their parents do have something to fear from Texas’ biggest schoolyard bully, Dan Patrick. He picks on kids as well as adults, and not just on transgender kids.

Here is a sample of what the schoolyard bully has done, and it amounts to a lot more than strong-arming a classmate’s lunch money. We are talking about strong-arming a generation’s future:

# Patrick’s vote in 2011 to cut $5.4 billion from school budgets forced thousands of kids into overcrowded classrooms, laid off some of their best teachers and put who knows how many children behind the learning curve.

# His vote in 2013 against the entire state budget — against all funds for education, health care, transportation, public safety and everything else state government pays for — would have worsened the plight of millions of children, had not Patrick’s more-responsible colleagues in Austin voted for the necessary spending.

# He continues to short-change school children while demanding that the same kids, including eight-year-olds in the third grade, stress out over STAAR testing.

# To make it even worse for these same kids, the bully will continue to try to take money they need for teachers, books and computers and give it to private schools.

# Thousands of children are coming to school sick – or not coming to school at all – because Patrick and his accomplices in the legislative majority insist on under-funding health care for low-income kids, who account for 60 percent of Texas’ public school enrollment.

Now, the bully is trying to barge into school bathrooms – figuratively anyway, but nevertheless in a very obnoxious way.