Month: <span>February 2018</span>

Senators who under-fund education and then deny it; Vote Education First!


The group of state senators who consistently march to Dan Patrick’s drumroll against public education are getting overly sensitive to criticism now that voting has begun and some of them are on the ballot. They are lousy budget writers, when it comes to funding schools, health care and other things Texans really need, but in the political season they love to churn out fiction.

Four of these senators – chief Senate budget-writer Jane Nelson, Kelly Hancock, Brian Birdwell and Konni Burton – were not very happy when Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley, a fellow Republican, correctly blew the whistle on them and their legislative allies for high property taxes. A major reason, as Whitley publicly pointed out, was their failure to adequately fund public education.

Not so, the four weakly protested in a recent oped in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Claiming to “care about our children’s education” and be “concerned” about rising property taxes, they said they approved a state budget that increased state funding for public schools by $5.2 billion. But that was an amount automatically required by enrollment growth.

The senators flatly ignored the fact that they did nothing to improve overall school funding or ease the burden on local property taxpayers. Instead, they let the state’s share of basic school funding drop to a pitiful 38 percent next year, meaning that local property taxes will have to assume even more of school costs, the remaining 62 percent.

Sens. Burton and Hancock are up for reelection this year.

Meanwhile, according to Texas Monthly, another Patrick follower, Sen. Charles Perry of Lubbock, has called reports about the poor state funding of public education “fake news” concocted by the news media. In truth, the figures came from the Legislative Budget Board, the Legislature’s budgetary experts.

The only thing fake about this, folks, is the fiction being generated by Perry and his fellow Patrick lieutenants, who persist in neglecting the needs of public schools and local taxpayers and then deny it. Small wonder they and their allies want to suppress the educator vote.

Early voting in both party primaries continues through March 2. If you haven’t already, take a look at Republican and Democratic candidates endorsed by TSTA PAC and Vote Education First!




Dan Patrick and Ken Paxton don’t want you to vote for these candidates


Attorney General Ken Paxton and other anti-public education politicians are still trying to scare educators away from the polls, but most educators know better than to be intimidated by Paxton’s political posturing, Empower Texans’ lies and Dan Patrick’s rants. Now, it is almost time to show them, in the most effective way possible, what you think of their behavior – and their anti-school policies.

Early voting in the party primaries will begin next Tuesday (Feb. 20). This is the time for educators to participate in the one act of civic engagement that opponents fear the most. I have attached at the end of this post a link to TSTA PAC’s list of endorsed candidates in contested races in both Republican and Democratic primaries around the state.

TSTA PAC endorsed these candidates – some are incumbent officeholders and some are challengers – on one issue only, their records and/or views on supporting public education, educators and school kids. The endorsements are based on real commitments to public schools, not mere lip service.

These individuals are candidates that Dan Patrick, Ken Paxton, Empower Texans and their school privatization allies don’t want you to vote for, and that’s why they have been trying to suppress your vote. But this year, you have more reason than ever to go to the polls. Please Vote Education First!

TSTA PAC’s endorsements are here:

If you are not sure which Texas House, state Senate or congressional district you live in, go to the following link and fill in your home address:

You can make a positive difference for public schools in Texas, but only if you Vote Education First!



Here is why Dan Patrick and his allies are trying to suppress the educator vote


Here, in one of their leader’s own words, is why Dan Patrick’s anti-public education allies are trying to keep educators from voting. The following quote, published over the weekend in the Texas Tribune, is from Tom Fabry, treasurer of the Frisco Tea Party and a collaborator in Empower Texans’ voter suppression campaign against teachers and other public school employees.

“Voting in mass, they (educators) would influence statewide office and state legislative races,” Fabry wrote for Empower Texans. “Locally, the combined voter block would have the mass to virtually guarantee approval of tax ratification elections and bond propositions. All it takes is registration, indoctrination and mobilization. And it’s all being done under the guise of ‘civic responsibility.’”

There are 650,000 or more public school employees in Texas, and the thought of most of those educators voting in the best interests of their students and their professions obvously scares the heck out of Fabry and his accomplices, who have been accustomed to large numbers of educators staying home on Election Day.

In Fabry’s view, which is shared by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, only people who would shrink government and privatize public schools should be encouraged to vote, thus assuring the election of state officials who will continue to cut education funding and promote standardized testing and school privatization. And they shudder at the thought of educators going out and voting for the local tax ratification and bond elections that have become increasingly necessary to compensate for the state’s neglect.

Educators don’t need indoctrination. They already know how bad Gov. Abbott, Dan Patrick and their allies are treating public schools and their students. But many educators may need mobilization, beginning with reminders of how important elections are to education and not to be intimidated by those who fear them.

There is no guise about civic responsibility, folks. Everyone has a civic responsibility to vote, and in the case of educators, that civic responsibility hits especially close to home because, like it or not, public schools operate in the political arena. Whether you vote and who you vote for will determine the future of public education and how well prepared millions of Texas school kids will be for their own futures.

Fabry, incidentally, says he is a voter registrar. If so, he needs to learn that his own civic responsibility is to encourage voting, not try to suppress it.

Blow the whistle on obstacles like Fabry and his Empower Texans cohorts and make their fears come true. Vote Education First!

Do we need more Dan Patricks? Dan thinks so.


Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick went on an ideological rant yesterday (imagine that) at an event hosted by the pro-voucher, pro-privatization Texas Public Policy Foundation. His apparent point, if you want to call it that, was that all Republican officeholders need to be like him. If that thought doesn’t keep any self-respecting adult awake at night, I don’t know what will.

Anyway, according to The Texas Tribune, Patrick also said there was “so much left to do” in Texas about education, property taxes and infrastructure. He’s right about this, but what he won’t admit is that he is the problem, not the solution. There’s a lot left to do on education and other basic public issues because he and his allies, including Gov. Greg Abbott, have been wasting the taxpayers’ time in Austin not doing what needs to be done.

It is time to elect new state leadership that will quit ranting, quit chasing vouchers and other ideological rip-offs and actually address the real needs of public education and taxpayers.

Vote Education First!