Like it or not, folks, public education is a politically charged enterprise, mainly because it consumes tax dollars and a lot of taxpayers (including former classroom slackers) think teaching kids is as easy as mouthing off at a party.
Consequently, Texas’ public schools will continue to be a focus of national attention as long as Gov. Perry is running for president. The initial, gettingacquainted interest from the national media will wane after a bit but return periodically, particularly if Perry wins the Republican nomination.
Below is a link to an Education Week blog that attempts to assess the state of Texas’ public schools under Perry. It was prompted, at least in part, by Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s remarks, recently broadcast on TV, that he felt “very, very badly” for Texas school children.
Duncan cited, among other things, “massive increases” in class sizes, “low standards” and a “high dropout rate.”
The Education Week blog determines that Texas does have a high dropout rate and ranks very poorly on school funding but says that educational standards in Texas are stronger than Duncan claims and disputes his assertion that class sizes have grown “massively.”
“Kids in Texas aren’t nearly as bad off as Duncan claims,” the blog concludes.
If that is the case, thank the teachers, not the governor.
The debate, though, will continue.
For one thing, according to Education Week’s own analysis, the dropout rate in Texas is about onethird, a fact that Perry has been trying to ignore for months. And, it is premature to conclude anything about Texas class sizes. With $5.4 billion cut from the public education budget over the next two years, classes inevitably will grow, and many may grow significantly larger.