Believe it or not, folks, I finally found something inspirational…no, that’s too positive a word. I finally found something to copycat from the governor this session. That would be his recent use of the phrase, “bunch of bunk,” to articulate his opposition to something further undermining his slashandburn philosophy of government.
As I noted the other day in my previous posting, Gov. Perry used that phrase to try, unsuccessfully, to dismiss a recent report by the Legislative Budget Board, projecting the loss of as many as 335,000 jobs in Texas if the budget plan passed by the Texas House actually became law. That’s the plan that would carry out the governor’s apparent desire to cut public education and the rest of state government back into the 19th century.
The LBB projection, unfortunately, isn’t bunk. But there has been a lot of other bunk (genuine bunk) swirling around the state Capitol this session, much of it spread by the governor and his allies.
The following examples really are bunk:
# The governor’s claim that neither he nor his budgetcutting legislative accomplices are responsible for teacher layoffs.
# The Legislature has to slash public education, health care and other critical public services because state government has to “live within its means.” State government’s “means” is determined by the governor and the Legislature, which, so far, are leaving billions of dollars in potential new tax revenue untapped. The governor even wants to leave most of the Rainy Day Fund in the bank.
# House Bill 400 and its first cousin, Senate Bill 12, are designed simply to give local school officials more budgetary flexibility and protect as many educators’ jobs as possible. In truth, they are not budget fixes. They are attacks on teachers. They would make it easier for superintendents and school boards to fire teachers, cut teachers’ pay, order teachers to take unpaid furloughs and eliminate most teacher employment rights. Moreover, both bills propose to make all these teacherbashing changes permanent.
# The 221 class size limit for kindergarten through fourth grade is not a “magic” number. You need a lower cap to increase educational quality in the lower grades. This fallacious argument not only defies some studies on class size, it also defies common sense. The fewer children in a classroom, the better the learning environment, period.
# The recession is the main cause of school districts’ budgetary problems. Everybody in the education community knows better than that. The main problem is a history of state underfunding of the public schools, a condition that was worsened in 2006, when the governor and the Legislature ordered big cuts in local school property taxes without fully paying for them. The structural deficit in school funding caused by the 2006 law alone is a projected $10 billion for 20122013.
The governor’s alleged leadership this session is a bunch of….well, that’s enough for now.