Tag: <span>education</span>

Moving the status quo farther behind

The Romney-Ryan campaign obviously is more than a little sensitive about being portrayed as anti-public education. But the portrayal fits. The deep education budget cuts proposed by Paul Ryan in Congress – and apparently endorsed by Romney – contrast sharply with President Obama’s record. The president signed a stimulus law in 2009 that pumped about $100 billion in education funds into the states. And, in 2010 he won another $10 billion to help save educators’ jobs.

The Romney-Ryan budget proposal, as I noted in a previous posting, would slash an estimated $723 million from critical public education programs in Texas alone. But the Romney campaign is trying to downplay the significance of President Obama’s education record.

“The vast majority of that (Obama) funding has gone into maintaining the status quo,” Martin West, an education adviser to Romney, said in an article in Education Week.

Professor West, however, misses the point, at least as far as Texas is concerned. The custodians of the status quo in Texas are Gov. Rick Perry and the legislative majority, and they have been consistently lowering it during much of Perry’s administration. The last time Perry and his allies passed a halfway decent public education budget in Texas was in 2009, and that was because they balanced it with about $5 billion of President Obama’s stimulus funds. Perry et al, who delight in bashing President Obama and his stimulus dollars, readily accepted the federal money to bail themselves out of a deep hole that Perry had dug with his 2006 property tax cuts. President Obama’s bailout saved Perry from having to cut the education budget or raise taxes on the eve of his 2010 reelection campaign.

Alas, there wasn’t a federal bailout last year, but the budget hole was still there. And, Perry had been safely reelected. So the governor drove the status quo down even more by slashing $5.4 billion from public school budgets. Now, if Perry, Romney and Ryan have their way, the cuts will be even deeper next year.

The Republican ticket’s budget cuts would go beyond K-12. They also would slash the Pell Grant program for low-income college students. And, that would be shoving the status quo even farther behind.

More on the Romney-Ryan anti-education war

Paul Ryan’s war on public schools is much deeper than the anti-education votes I listed in a blog posting the other day. The slash-and-burn budget proposal that he sponsored in Congress before Mitt Romney chose him as a running mate would have resulted in lost opportunities for thousands of Texas school children and cost as many as 19,000 Texas educators their jobs. These losses would be in addition to the cuts, job losses and overcrowded classrooms already inflicted on Texas schools by the governor and the legislative majority.

Mitt Romney shares Ryan’s condescending view of public education, or he wouldn’t have chosen the congressman as a running mate. The Romney-Ryan budget, if adopted, would particularly target low-income children and the people who teach them. I don’t care how many charter and voucher schemes you come up with, the vast majority of these kids are going to be educated in traditional public schools – or they are going to drop out. When kids drop out of school, it hurts families, cuts economic capacity and compromises the safety of our communities. It makes absolutely no sense to undercut public education.

During fiscal 2013-14, the Romney-Ryan budget would cut more than $141 million from Head Start programs in Texas alone. This would eliminate enrollment slots for 19,000 young children and 8,050 jobs for Head Start teachers. Head Start is not a babysitting service. It is an important early childhood development program that helps disadvantaged children learn in a classroom setting and stay in school, rather than drop out, when they get a little older. It is an investment in a stronger future, not only for the children but also for the entire economy.

Romney and Ryan would whack $335 million from federal Title I programs in Texas. These also are programs designed to give extra help to low-income and disadvantaged kids in danger of dropping out and becoming tax burdens, rather than productive taxpayers, as adults. These cuts would reduce or eliminate services for more than 800,000 Texas children and cost more than 6,200 Texas educators their jobs. The Romney-Ryan proposal also would cut $247 million from special education grants to Texas. That would transfer those costs to the state and local school districts, jeopardizing services for more than 108,000 children and jobs for 4,600 educators. School children and educators in other states also would suffer significant hits in all these categories.

The National Education Association (NEA), with which TSTA is affiliated, compiled the above figures. NEA is supporting President Obama’s reelection because President Obama is a strong supporter of the public schools and advocates for equal opportunity for all children. That is in sharp contrast to the Romney-Ryan education budget and Romney’s top-down belief that children should receive as much education “as they can afford.”

Paul Ryan: Making education less affordable

Most of you probably know by now that U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, who will be Mitt Romney’s running mate, never met a public program – including Medicare, Medicaid and public education — he didn’t want to slash. His selection by Romney reaffirms the course on which the Republican ticket is headed – toward a government with a paper-thin safety net for middle- and low-income Americans and an education system in which children, as Romney has declared, can get as much education “as they can afford.”

Ryan, while in Congress, has worked hard to make education less affordable for millions of hard-working young Americans and their tax-paying families. Here is a sample of his voting record on education issues:

# Voted against a $2,500 tax credit for college students.

# Opposed increased funding for special education and teacher quality programs.

# Voted against full funding for Head Start and supported cuts in Head Start enrollment.

# Voted against funding to help avoid teacher layoffs.

# Voted for an across-the-board cut to education initiatives.

# Voted to cut Title 1 funding for local educators by $693.5 million.

# Voted to cut No Child Left Behind by $784 million.

# Voted to drain tax dollars from public schools by supporting an extension of a school voucher program in Washington, D.C.

There’s more, but you get the idea.

Ryan, of course, won a quick endorsement from Texas’ own champion education budget-cutter – Gov. Rick Perry, who whacked $5.4 billion from Texas’ public schools last year.

First, Perry, and now, Romney and Ryan. Our school children deserve better, much better. So do their parents.