Last week when Judge Dietz made his ruling he set into motion what could be a very expensive process. I applaud Judge Dietz for his bold and correct decision. When he issues the written statement to support the ruling that he gave verbally last week, the state leaders will have a decision to make.
They will have several options:
- The first option is to play “kick the can”. Appeal the decision to as many intermediate courts that are available between Judge Dietz and the Texas Supreme Court. This process would delay a final resolution to the school funding problem for several years, possibly two complete cycles of the Legislature meeting in Austin. They will most likely take this approach, the most cowardly approach. Judge Dietz predicted the current need to be $10-11 Billion Dollars. If it is delayed then it could be anywhere from $12-16 Billion Dollars more that is needed. This does not even address the restoration of the $5.4 Billion that was removed last session.
- The second option is to appeal directly to the Texas Supreme Court Immediately. This will shorten the process dramatically. This is a less likely choice.
- The last choice and most unlikely choice is to own up to their mistakes and takes steps to solve the problem now.
There are a few facts that cannot be ignored:
- Every child deserves an opportunity for a good education.
- The number of students will not go down. It will continue to increase.
- As the number of students increases, so will the cost to educate them.
- The number of students that are classified as low socioeconomic will continue to increase.
- The cost of educating poor students cost more than students considered not poor.
- Increasing class sizes will not help the problem.
- Excessive teacher loads will not help the problem.
- The current testing requirements are not encouraging authentic learning, just test taking skills.
In the education profession there is a standing joke that when teachers become administrators they have a special surgery to have their spine removed. While I don’t think this is true of educators, I do believe that it may be possible that many of our legislators have had the surgery. If they had a backbone then they would stop “kicking the can” down the road and solve the problem now. It’s only going to get more expensive.
On February 23rd in Austin educators in the State of Texas have an opportunity to have their voices heard. The more voices that are present, then the louder the voice. Educators must make an impression on the leaders of this state….NOW!!
David R. Taylor
25 Year Teacher,Coach and Principal