Yesterday, Judge Dietz delivered a verdict on the latest in a series of law suits brought by school districts against the State of Texas. The lawsuit was set into motion two years ago when the Legislature decided to cut 5.4 billion dollars from the funding of schools. This lawsuit represented more than 600 school districts and over 75% of the students in the state.
On May 10, 2012 I published an article on my blog titled “Take us Down Captain Nemo (Perry), Dive, Dive, Dive”. In the article I made the point that Captain Perry and his merry band of legislators were making definite effort to take Texas Education and every other part of this state to the bottom of the nation in every category. Yesterday during his closing remarks Judge Dietz made the following comments in regards to Texas place in the nation and in the world.
First, I would like to point out we are not now producing college and career ready students in the opinion of many politician and business leaders. I would further point out that the US was rank 17th in the latest authoritative global survey of education, ranking behind Finland, South Korea, United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Canada. I would point out that in the US with our 17th position; Texas is in the bottom half of the 50 states. Finally, I would point out the simple truth, we are in competition with 195 other nations and their economies. If I ask 20 million Texas who are not in school right now whether or not they agree that we should have more rigorous and challenging standards for our education system, what would their answer be? I believe a vast majority of Texas would say “Yes” and that for our students to successfully compete in the future, we must have tougher higher standards now…
So with this vast majority of Texans in support of higher standards, I now say, “Great, we’re going to have to develop a new curriculum, we have to substantially upgrade our technology in schools, we have to increase training for teachers, we have to hire some new teachers in complex content areas that we will be teaching, and we have to provide tutoring and remediation to our challenging population. We need to have evaluation and accountability to make sure we are meeting our goals concerning these increased standards. Finally, we need some public outreach to make sure ht parents buy into this new program. I think we can do all of that for an additional $2000 per student or in another words, an additional $10-11 Billion Dollars. You support this tax increase, don’t you?
In his statements Judge Dietz just confirmed everything that I wrote about 8 ½ month ago. Texas is not doing a good job of educating its students and the system has to change. The way education is funded must change. The amount of money used to fund education must increase dramatically.
It is now up to our esteemed governor and his band of merry men to put legislation in placed to meet the new goals. Please don’t waste time and money appealing to the Texas Supreme Court. For most educators and citizens of the State of Texas it is a foregone conclusion that the legislature will be forced to undo some of their great decisions from two years ago. They will be forced to restore the $5.4 Billion Dollars that took away two years ago. If Judge Dietz numbers are used, then they will have to find another $5-6 Billion Dollars additionally.
They next 100 days of the legislature should be real interesting. Keep contacting your senators and representatives. Let them know you want education to be a priority in the State of Texas for all children, not just the few that happen to live in the right zip code.
David R. Taylor
25 year Teacher, Coach and Principal