Schools need more from business leaders

“Why don’t state’s business leaders stand up to Perry?” That headline on a recent Houston Chronicle column said a lot about why Texas’ public schools are struggling and, in many cases, are headed for worse financial times next year. The entire column by Patricia Kilday Hart is linked below and is well worth reading.

Hart makes the point that many business leaders talk a good game and pass resolutions about government investments in public infrastructure, including a strong public education system, but continue to support a governor and a legislative majority that blindly cuts state spending. One such “education friendly” group is the Greater Houston Partnership. Yet, as Hart points out, its CEO, Jeff Moseley, stood next to Perry last week as the governor announced his rightwing, antispending, antitaxes, antipublic education “budget compact.”

Although not mentioned by Hart, another “proeducation” group that is part of the problem is the Texas Association of Business, which not only backs Perry politically but also endorsed many of the legislators who voted last year to slash $5.4 billion from the public schools.

Although they give lip service to supporting the public schools, many opinion leaders in the business community are more interested in being props for the governor’s agenda – low businesses taxes, a lax business regulatory climate, favors for political contributors and shutting the courthouse doors against consumer lawsuits.

“There’s an important position that desperately needs to be filled,” Hart writes. “Wanted: Texas business leader with the political courage to stand up to Rick Perry.”

Perry is a political bully, and the business community, for the most part, has let him get away with it because he serves their own selfish purposes. If I am being unfair, I would be overjoyed for some business types to start proving me wrong. They can start by helping voters replace antieducation legislators in this year’s elections. If not, they should stop pretending they care about the public schools.



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