Monday, February 28, 2011

Even the Republicans are starting to worry

The Center for Public Policy Priorities released some rather startling, and depressing, research today. They focus on economic and social policies to help low and moderate income Texans. Their release today focuses on a county-by-county look into 4 areas that are getting hit hard by the budget shortfall:
Public Education, Higher Education, Health and Human Services and Medicaid.

I took I look at the Public Education numbers. They're damn depressing. Even Republican Senate Finance Chair Steve Ogden admits the budget proposal will "decimate public education".

The top 20 school districts by jobs lost are:

Houston ISD, Dallas ISD, Austin ISD, Frisco ISD, Plano ISD, North East ISD, Round Rock ISD, Lewisville ISD, Northside ISD, Leander ISD, Spring Branch ISD, Northwest ISD, Clear Creek ISD, Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD, Denton ISD, Richardson ISD, United ISD, Comal ISD, Katy ISD.

Those 20 districts reside in 10 counties. Even that doesn't really tell the entire picture. Three of those schools are the only schools in their county in the top 20 - United, Comal and Clear Creek. The other 13 districts are in Harris, Dallas, Collin, Travis, Denton, Bexar, Travis and Williamson counties. For those of you not from Texas (and I had to look up Collin county myself) the metro areas that you're probably familiar with in those counties are Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, and San Antonio. In fact, with the exception of United ISD which is in Laredo, the other two districts qualify as part of those listed metro areas (San Antonio and Houston, respectively).

The total estimated job loss for those 20 districts - 32,725. The total for the state - 79,161.

When you dig a little deeper and look at district enrollments, the numbers look even worse. The top 5 districts in that list have a combined enrollment of almost 600,000. Nine of them have over 50,000 students. Two of them have over 100,000. Houston alone has 202,773. For comparison, that means Houston ISD serves more children than live DesMoines, Iowa.

Yet HISD is loosing 6,890 jobs. Now, some of those may not be teaching positions, granted. No, they'll lay off librarians and custodians and aides. But they will lay off teachers as well. Ask the ones who remain to teach more classes, with more students, with less support and all for the same salary.

It's not enough that the State Board of Education seems hell bent on ignoring science and history and rewriting curriculums to proselytize to children. Now the state would rather gut our education system from the ground up rather than raise taxes. Texas does not have a state income tax. Since starting one would take an amendment to the state constitution, there's virtually no chance of one. We could raise other taxes though. 

But no. That can't be done. We must balance the budget without bringing in any more income. There's only one way to do that.

The cost will be borne on the backs of our children.

H/T to The Burnt Orange Report

1 comment:

skyewriter said...

Hey, True Blue. How have you been?

Sorry for being AWOL for so long.

I am glad to see you are still blogging excellent and meaningful posts.

It is terrifying to me as an educator to see the ever-increasing crisis facing our nation's schools.

I know so many teachers who are scared; I know so many students and parents who are scared; I know *of* so many politicians who don't seem to care about any of it.

I try not to be too cynical, but when those elected to represent us side with dollars instead of sense... the end will not be good.