The Future of Texas' Public Schools. (Spoiler Alert: With Dan Patrick, That Future is Bleak.)

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Houston Republican Dan Patrick -- a conservative radio shock jock and founder of the Tea Party Caucus in the Texas Senate -- is vowing to lead the charge in the next session of the Texas Legislature for a school voucher system that would give away tax money to private and religious schools.

That's public money taken away from public schools. It's a back-door attack on the very foundation of public education in Texas. It's a way to run the public school system into the ground.

So who is Dan Patrick to us? Oh, nobody, really. Just Florence Shapiro.

Shapiro, former mayor of Plano, head of the Senate Education Committee, announced in September she would leave the Senate after 19 years.

Patrick had confused and enraged his fellow tea baggers last July when he endorsed Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst against Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate last July. The Teapers couldn't fathom why their boy would do a thing like that. But all mysteries were solved earlier this month when Dewhurst paid Patrick back by naming him to succeed Shapiro as the powerful Senate education boss.

Hey, Shapiro was no angel where libtards like me are concerned. She was plenty far right on a lot of stuff. But, damn! She wasn't a radio talk-show nutball. Shapiro was actually smart and thoughtful on the plight of public education in Texas, only from a political perspective that was way around the dial from people like me.

Now we're really in for it. Patrick is an ideological warrior. His plan for school vouchers doesn't even pretend to give a damn what happens to public schools. In fact it's a raid on the vault of public education and, as such, an insurrection against community values themselves.

Why else would we even consider taxing ourselves, collecting the money and then allowing the legislature to give it away to a bunch of private and religious schools? What about these ideas, instead? First, how about having the damn private school raise their own money if they're so good at what they do?

What is they call that? The conservatives have a word for it. It's on the tip of my tongue. Oh, yeah. The market! I thought they believed in the market, where anybody who's got a product or a bright idea goes out into the economy and tries to see if he can sell it. All of a sudden, the whole market thing is off? The only way these wonderful private and religious school can make it is if we collect compulsory taxes for them?

Or how about this? If you don't like public schools and you really do want to get rid of them, how about taking that idea to the voters? Kill the public schools, yay or nay. We could do that. I think it would require amending the state constitution in Texas, but there are ways to amend the constitution.

How about going at it straight on and honestly instead of trying to drill the locks in the dead of night, pretending it's somehow for the good of public schools? What is that logic anyway? You mean you're going to help public schools try harder by stealing all their money?

At a certain point, this stuff becomes an attack on America itself. It's coming from people who looked out the window ionbe day, saw an America that no longer looked like the post-World War II all-white America they remember so fondly, and decided, "If it's not all for us, let's take it down."

When do we wake up to the real nature of this threat?

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94 comments
Unabashed_Liberal
Unabashed_Liberal

Is anybody going to mention the fact that each public school district is different, some good some bad?  

 

And there is an extremely high correlation between the per capita tax base and quality of the corresponding school districts?

 

So isn't the real problem the segregation of property taxes by city?

rufuslevin
rufuslevin

impossible to have a "free market" when attendance at a school is mandated legally by the government....no free choice, no free selection, all run by entrenched bureaucrats...not by educators.  the money bucket is huge, and the pigs are all at the trough. 

 

ask yourself. what is the ACTUAL purpose of a public education as originally envisioned and mandated?  Literacy and math for financial husbandry and history for civic understanding.  Nothing else...was to allow the citizens to communicate and to read, and to take care of their personal finances.

 

no football, drama, ceramics, basketball, cheerleading, clubs, debate, UIL competitions, sociology, or even science....that was ADDED for the BEST of the BEST students...was not part of ANY mandate.....and then there is drivers education, sex education, journalism and the school newspaper and year books and graduation gowns and rings, and proms and parties and pep rallies, and a host of add ons not including putting limited ability and non English speaking kids all into the mix, feeding and transporting them, counselling and advising and rating and testing and helth care and cafeteria and etc etc etc.

 

so NO WONDER people want OUT OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOL FOOD TROUGH OF THE LIBERAL POLITICIANS, TREEHUGGING IDEOLOGS, THE NANNY STATERS AND SELF ESTEEM MANAGERS....AND to get their kids EDUCATED in REALITY and not in IMAGE only.

 

you can trash the teaparty, you can trash the GOP candidates, you can make the government into the Hero that it isn't with your journalism, but you cannot avoid reality.

WackyCrackerTracker
WackyCrackerTracker

Would somebody please keep these friggin' right wing white fratboys from destroying our educational system by teaching our children fairy tales about some vengeful Midian mountain god.

I would prefer my children to learn hard science and truth, something they will never acquire from a Republican.

aggie_cheme
aggie_cheme

This is basically the corporate raiders backing ALEC, taking control of one more state's public funds and finding new ways to send that money for private profit-- the shared public good be damned.  They already did this in PA, and this Dan Patrick idea sounds amazingly similar to what's happened in PA under Republican rule the last couple years.  They are meant to starve public schools of funds, divert those funds to private education, then pooh pooh the public schools, in inner cities especially, when they don't have enough money for anything and point to their failing grades as reason for cutting further funding from them!  Learn more about ALEC-- Bill Moyers did a recent special on PBS about it.  Republicans (and some Dems, too) are selling public property to private profiteers, no questions asked... in return for all the private funding of elections... this is special interests jacked up to 10th power.

Dallassister
Dallassister

The voucher amount being talked about at the Capitol is $5,300.  What school in Dallas is that cheap? 

 The voucher will only help those kids who can already pay more, contribute more and provide their own transportation to private schools.  But most private schools don't want the strings that accompany taxpayer dollars.  They don't want to spend 45 days per school year taking standardized tests, nor regulations on who they hire/fire/ accept/ reject. 

Dallassister
Dallassister

In Louisana, their new voucher program is funding curriculum in a church school that states that the Loch Ness Monster is a dinosaur and therefore is proof there is no evolution. 

http://ncse.com/news/2012/08/louisianas-loch-ness-mythology-0014528 

Dan Patrick is an AM radio talk show host who knows nothing about education nor the need for an educated work force for Texas' business.

Make the voucher takers endure the 15 four hour end-of-course exams the public school kids now  must pass to graduate.  There is no accountability with vouchers!

jlee1957
jlee1957

Right wingers and Evangelicals want to destroy education period. They want our children taught that the Earth is only 6000 years old and that man rode dinosaurs. But mainly they want to keep the general public uneducated because when you are uneducated you do what you are told and you don't ask questions.

PrestonHoller
PrestonHoller

"It's a way to run the public school system into the ground."

 

Here's a little hint:  The public schools are ALREADY run into the ground.  Except for a few rare exceptions, public school education is NOT about educating kids.  Oh sure, administrators SAY it is.  But the way they operate, it is more about 1) doling out construction contracts to contractors in exchange for votes for school board members; 2) administrators finding new programs they can justify spending money on so that in a few years they can then get lucrative jobs with the consultants they just threw money at; 3) idiot liberals engaging in social politics; and 4) administrators finding more and more areas where they need to hire more administrators (rather than teachers) so there are plenty of jobs they can award to their own friends and family.

 

Many, many, many public schools DESERVE to die.  They should have been put out of our misery long ago.  Give me my voucher.  If the local public school can do a better job of educating my kid than a private school, I readily send my kids and my vouchers there and save the school.

 

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Jim, sorry to disappoint you but the public schools in Texas were run into the ground a long time ago.  The system currently teaches to the lowest common denominator.  While there are some notable exceptions for some individual schools, these tend to be the exception rather than the rule.  Academic excellence in the public school system has been linked to parental involvement.

 

If the public school system is so wonderfully administered, then why in the recent round of school closings did DISD shut down academically excellent schools and transfer those students to academically under performing schools.  I believe a good example is the closing of Bonham Elementary in East Dallas.

 

Rather than describe why DISD shut Bonham down, why don't we examine why the nonperforming schools were allowed to remain open and why the successful programs at schools such as Bonham were not transferred to other schools?

Edward
Edward

Similar to the Republicans electing people to the State Board of Education who don't LIKE public education and either send their kids to private schools or homeschool them.

 

Just like slashing funding to higher education and making it more difficult financially for people to go to college, the Republican party wants to decimate K-12. 

 

It's (yet again) disturbing that so many middle class suburban people continue to vote against their own best interests. As the Republican party dismantles education, it's the middle income people who will suffer, whether it's cutbacks at their elementary school or cutbacks in Pell Grants and scholarships when their kids are ready to go to college. 

 

Education is THE best way to improve one's life, and the Republicans are doing everything they can to prevent people from succeeding. You would think with all the "pull yourself up from your own bootstraps" talk that they would be encouraging educational improvements and participation.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

" an insurrection against community values themselves."

 

Wait, isn't that the public schools?Public schools ARE segregation.  They say, "you will be segregated geographically.  If you live here, you are stuck with this school, and if you live here, you are stuck with this one."  Socioeconomic segregation is much more insidious than racial segregation, and apparently Jim is OK with it.  It's why a house in Plano ISD is worth significantly more than one a block away in Dallas ISD.  The kid whose parents live in Dallas ISD should have a choice in the matter that doesn't involve moving (especially into a house whose value is inflated just based on a political division.) 

ThisSpaceForRent
ThisSpaceForRent

"It's coming from people who looked out the window ionbe day, saw an America that no longer looked like the post-World War II all-white America they remember so fondly, and decided, "If it's not all for us, let's take it down.""

Well, actually, that's the history of the segregated South. Blacks were forbidden to learn to read and most white kids got no education at all. Eventually that changed in the 1880's and 90's and we got an all-white public school system and a separate (and highly unequal) black system, and the we get the Brown decision and desegregation and we're on to white flight.

That's the story in Miss: the public schools are nearly all black and all poor and the nice white children go to segregated private 'Christian' academies. And they evidently wish to do this in Texas, because after all, you've got your kids in the private school system, so why not screw the not-white people. (Which includes the white poor.)

Step by step, inch by inch, the ex-Confederacy has come up with workarounds so they can reimplement slavery (prisons!) and segregation, so now they just need to get the money away from the dark ones.

All they need is plausible deniability so the nice white people can remain comfy with the situation by blaming everyone else for the problem.

max

['Same old, same old, really.']

rufuslevin
rufuslevin

 @aggie_cheme Public schools already suck...no matter what or what not someone else does for the kids.....no one has fixed the public schools for years...but the budgets keep going up, and the quality of education and results keeps going down.

 

insanity is defined as to continue to do the same thing time after time while failing, and to expect different outcomes.

rufuslevin
rufuslevin

 @Dallassister and Barry Obama is a community organizer with no track record of accomplishment....but you elected him to lead the entire nation....and you want to lecture about other folks wanting to serve the public....lol

carthur27
carthur27

 @Dallassister The article doesn't state what you've written and the loch ness monster is only mentioned in a quote by a person who obviously has an agenda against creationism.

rufuslevin
rufuslevin

 @PrestonHoller only ignorant nanny state ideologs would truly disagree and defend the indefensible public school SYSTEM....follow the MONEY....and then look at the RESULTS.

Dallassister
Dallassister

 @PrestonHoller

 Hogwash!  I bet you can't do calculus, physics, trig, chem, nor play an instrument like public school kids do.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

 @PrestonHoller Sure, just don't take your voucher (tax dollars) to a religion-backed private school.  Whole separation of church and state thing, ya know.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

 @PrestonHoller Preston, when you're gazing down on us from up there in the Holler, here's the line I think you need to keep in mind: schools may deserve to die, but children do not.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

 @Edward Repubs don't want anybody to succeed, except the chosen few that make the decisions.

Throw red meat (god, gays, guns) and reap the rewards at the ballot box, and cash box.

JustMom
JustMom

So, say, Highland Park shouldn't enforce it's public school borders?

carthur27
carthur27

 @theinfinitiveofgo It is incorrect to label the private schools in Mississippi "Christian."  Other than a few Catholic schools, I don't know of any with religious ties.  While there aren't many blacks attending private school in Mississippi, there are some and jews have always gone there.

prochoice
prochoice

@theinfinitiveofgo Pathetic white guilt. Yeah prisons = slavery. Every black gang-banging murderer and rapist in prison is the moral equivelant of a slave. Murdering and raping someone and then being sent to prison for it is exactly like being enslaved against your will. You are a blithering idiot white-guilter.

Unabashed_Liberal
Unabashed_Liberal

 @rufuslevin  @aggie_cheme Public schools suck?  Last time I checked, the DFW area had some of the top public schools in the nation.  

Maybe you mean inner-city school districts?

Unabashed_Liberal
Unabashed_Liberal

 @rufuslevin  @Dallassister No track record?  A distinguished academic career and graduate degrees from ivy league schools?  A former U.S. Senator?

 

And perhaps you thought Ronald Reagan or W. was more qualified?

rufuslevin
rufuslevin

 @Dallassister  @PrestonHoller I can do all of those things.  School was not the only place that taught them.  And parent values and support were much more helpful than the bureaucrats and "rules" of the public school system, which is more like child care centers for parents that dont feed or take care of their own kids during the day....

PrestonHoller
PrestonHoller

 @Dallassister According to this: http://www.studentmotivation.org/DallasISD.htm, 59%(!) of DISD students DON'T graduate with their class.  FIFTY-NINE percent!   Are you so daft that you think the DISD is effectively teaching calculus, physics, trig, and chem?!   

 

And, in case it didn't occur to you, a voucher system does NOT require you to leave the public school.  If you are happy with your local school, take your voucher there.  If you are unhappy, try to find a better situation.

PrestonHoller
PrestonHoller

 @JimSX  @PrestonHoller Wow.  Now I'm for having children die?  Yeah, right.

 

What uninformed people like you don't understand is that protecting these dismissal schools is metaphorically killing these kids.  Continually cranking out kids that wholly unprepared for life, let alone college, dooms them to a spiral of woefully low paying jobs at best and abject poverty at worst.

 

Permitting parents the opportunity to move their kids to better performing schools via a voucher may be the one thing that saves them.  Rather than care about improving the lives of kids via education, you'd rather cling to liberal dogmatism that are literally and figuratively killing these kids.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

 @JustMom There shouldn't be public school borders in the first place.  Funding should follow the kids wherever they choose to go.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @prochoice  @theinfinitiveofgo what about those who are stygmatized by drug possession charges.  In this state a possession charge comes with a notation atop one's driving record "DRUG ARREST"  It matters not whether it's a first time offense, whether it's a deferred charge. 

 

I don't think they were discussing murder, but way to jump to defeat that strawman, very courageous of you.

PrestonHoller
PrestonHoller

 @Unabashed_Liberal  Yes, that is the point.  Some bad schools will close and should close.  On the other hand, some bad schools will realize they need to make changes that are responsive to parent demand (rather than boondoggles for award construction contracts, further nepotism by administration, etc).  These will change their ways for the better and start to thrive.  Moreover, with the vouchers, new schools will open and current good schools will expand.

 

This is the whole concept of competition.  You know, the American way.  Ever heard of it?  It's basically what this country was founded on and has thrived on for over 200 years. 

totallyshocked1
totallyshocked1

@JimSX - Maybe single mom shouldn't have had five effin kids. Where be da babydaddiez? If you can't feed em, don't breed em.

rufuslevin
rufuslevin

 @JimSX  @PrestonHoller UH.....why does SHE have five kids?  she cannot afford five kids, she cannot manage her own life, plus five kids, and she lives where she cannot get to services....most folks in Dallas that MANAGE their personal lives appropriately and successfully are NOT rich NOR live in Park Cities.   Your argument is illogical, and frankly juvenille.

rufuslevin
rufuslevin

 @PrestonHoller  @JimSX you are trying to educate the ignorant with reality and facts....you cannot change the ideologs' opinions and self righteous arrogant elitist comments.

PrestonHoller
PrestonHoller

 @JimSX  Jim, you paint a picture of a woman in a difficult situation who probably has little options in her effort to at least give her kids a chance at a better life.  Giving her a voucher to allow her to TRY to find a better option would be something I bet she would enjoy.  If she happens to live in a crappy school district, why force her to stay there?  I thought you Liberals were all for choice -- or does that only apply when its a question of killing the unborn?

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

 @PrestonHoller Good thinking, Preston. So single mom of five kids needs to take two buses to get back to Parkland today about her Lupus then take two buses home plus buy Twinkies for dinner before the kids get home from school/streets/whatever, and then you would add to her to-do list, "Transfer and transport children to superior schools." Now, I know what you're going to say: she could have her gardener run out for the Twinkies. But what if the gardener didn't show up because he's busy transferring his own kids to superior schools. And as another commenter asked, these kids can go to Park Cities schools, right?

rufuslevin
rufuslevin

 @JustMom THE only truly great High Schools in DISD are exemplary only because of their AP programs, those teachers in the AP programs, and the intense SUPPORT OF PARENTS for the academics of the High School...that is why geographically located schools in poor and low skills and undereducated families are poor performers.

rufuslevin
rufuslevin

 @JustMom wealthy people, with good education values for their kids, will always find alternatives to poorly mandated government run failure institutions.

LakeWWWooder
LakeWWWooder

I should add that Woodrow also has 22 AP and 8 Dual Credit classes.  W.T, White, Hillcrest and Woodrow have all been ranked nationally by Newsweek and The Washington Post for AP participation.  That's double the number of AP classes offered in some of our better private schools.

LakeWWWooder
LakeWWWooder

Woodrow has 200-300 transfers in for International Baccalaureate and its other college prep academies:  STEM; Business, Entrepreneurship and Finance (BEF) and Performing Arts.  Applications for IB start in January.  The school is currently near capacity, but a new $14 million, 40,000 square foot Science and Arts wing is opening next month.

 

 Other DISD high schools also have different academies available for transfer if your home school does not offer the curriculum.  So many of the traditional comprehensive high schools have a quasi-magnet component.  For instance, TJ has an Asian Studies Pathway.

 

I don't know what the transfer process is for middle school, but at J. L. Long (in the final stages of candidacy for IB MYP - Middle Years Programme) it seems there are many, quite a few of them from Hexter across the lake.

JustMom
JustMom

Hillcrest is open for transfer, as is WT White, and the brand new magnet school, Conrad in NE Dallas. Not sure about Woodrow, but haven't heard that they don't allow transfers in. DISD is much more open than people realize when it comes to choice. Which is why Hinojosa pushed for standardized grade subject learning. It made transfering your student far less detrimental to their overall education progress.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

 @Chuck_Schick  @JustMom Let's make every school a magnet, and we can all declare victory and maybe even end up with some educated adults.  (I for one was educated in spite of my incarceration in DISD, not because of it.)

Chuck_Schick
Chuck_Schick

 @everlastingphelps  @JustMom There should be even more magnets and more choices. And DISD needs to take another look at boundaries. Our NW Dallas neighborhood is divided between three elementary, two middle and two high schools.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

 @JustMom Other than magnet schools, there is no choice.  The geographic segregation continues even within the districts, with one street going to this school and another street to another school.

JustMom
JustMom

Put your kid in a good DISD school and watch them thrive. It's like a hot poker up their noses.

 

It's incorrect that there is no school choice within DISD. There are several excellent high schools. But as people love to say about other people's children, success really does come down to the parents, and how they relate to their child's education.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

 @JustMom Well, I guess I won't get invited to their ice cream socials.  However will I cope?

JustMom
JustMom

I think that idea just lost the support of every Parkie. Seriously.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @prochoice  @JimSX reminds me of the old Eddy Murphy bit about Stevie Wonder.  "infinity, finity.... Fuck it, you know, the good one." 

prochoice
prochoice

@JimSX - because only about two blacks read your shit, out of the maybe 20 people who regularly read your shit here. If "theinfinitiveofgo" isn't white, then he/she has my sincere condolences.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @jwalker7  @primi_timpano  @prochoice  @theinfinitiveofgo There's a problem when a plea agreement is reached and there are punishments that are not enumerated, or described.  State lawmakers are contemptuous of judges doing their jobs through mandatory sentencing. 

 

The 'dope' doesn't turn people's brains to mush, the studies don't support it.  Marijuana can be harmful for developing, adolescent brains, but tests do not show negative effects from smoking for regular users.  Marijuana has many positive theraputic uses, and has far fewer side effects than the pharmaceutical drugs used to treat the same effects.  The FDA is biased towards pharma, and is funded by pharma, so I don't think they are a credible independent authority.   It really makes on wonder, when my cousin grows pot for the USGov.  What is that about? 

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

To finish, it is about a complete demonization of marijuana beyond any rational reason. To further your time-crime creed, all crimes must be punished, otherwise the demonization of criminals becomes less of a result of bad things happening to bad people , to bad things happen to unlucky people. You might be a much happier person if you broke a few laws, had a smoke, couple of beers in public, wild sex in public places, you know, fun illegal stuff everybody does.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

@jwalker7 @scottindallas @prochoice @theinfinitiveofgo There are a lot of laws to track. Between the city, county, state, and federal laws, ordinances, rules and regs, no living person would escape prison time if an effort were made to prosecute a person. This sit about marijuana and or your shrill explanation, walker, that you get what you deserve.

jwalker7
jwalker7

 @scottindallas  @primi_timpano  @prochoice  @theinfinitiveofgo You knew marijuana was illegal and chose to possess it anyway. You deserve the punishment you got. If you don't want to do the time you should have checked into the laws on the books before you chose to smoke it. Quit whining and take your punishment. More importantly, get off the dope and make something of your life before you turn your brain to mush!!!

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @primi_timpano  @scottindallas  @prochoice  @theinfinitiveofgo got popped for possession in Johnson Cty. my last year of college, first and last offense, was deferred.  For ten years, in all caps at the top of the form "DRUG ARREST" nothing more.  Didn't say, 1/2 oz marijuana, looked like I was King Heroin.  I didn't even know about this, wasn't told.  Nor was I told my license would be suspended for a year.  I got popped on that, but since I had insurance the judge waved, different town and county. 

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

@scottindallas @prochoice @theinfinitiveofgo I was not aware of the drivers license drug arrest legend. Is this done even if there is no conviction? What about other crimes? Are they too noted? What about liens and civil judgments? This is crazy stupid.

prochoice
prochoice

@scottindallas @theinfinitiveofgo Oh now you've moved the goalposts! I think marijuana should be legal for adults subject to similar laws as alcohol sales & consumption. As far as crack, heroin, meth, etc, let them watch TV in prison all day, just like the slaves of yore did.

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