One of the beauties of not running for office is I don't have to mince words. So, I'll say it again, David Dewhurst is a jackass. The current Lt. Governor is running for Kay Bailey Hutchinson's senate seat and I'm tempted to vote for him. Why would I do such a stupid thing? Well, it would get him the hell out of Texas now wouldn't it.
Now, how did we get to this point? Well, Dewhurst was asked about the state of educational funding in Texas. For those living under a rock, the state educational budget took a serious hit this past session when nearly two billion dollars was cut. Yet, according to Dewhurst, we've never spent more on education. In fact he said, "the educational system is flush with cash." It isn't the lie that makes him a jackass. After all, it's only partially a lie. We are spending more money in simple dollars than we ever have. It is the arrogance that comes along with it. How dare we question the great David Dewhurst?
Well, I'll be your huckleberry. Let's start with a little basic math. In between the 2009 and 2011 legislative sessions, Texas added 90,000 school children. So, while there was a technical increase in the amount of money the legislature put in the coffers, when we parcel that out on a per student basis we see that they actually contributed 600 dollars less per student. If it were that simple, Dewhurst would only be half of an ass, but we should throw the rest of the kitchen sink at him.
600 dollars per student doesn't sound like much if we assume that costs are constant. They aren't. Construction costs are constantly increasing, the costs of books, paper, and other supplies are constantly increasing. Furthermore, the TEA loves to throw in little mandates that are left unfunded. For instance, they are now requiring all high school graduates to have four years of math and science to graduate. It was three years each when most of us were in school. You must hire additional staff to accommodate that. Yet, the state cut its funding by 600 dollars per student.
Okay, so he presided as Lieutenant Governor while the legislature cut our funded while simultaneously requiring more from our schools. Maybe they want local taxing areas to account for the slack. Well, that would be great, but they also lowered the amount districts could tax. They used to allow a maximum of $1.50 per 1000 dollars of property value. Now, they only allow $1.25. So, many districts had to cut the amount they could bring in on their own, the state contributed less per child, costs in general are going up, and the state is mandating more and more things that they did not fund. What does this equal? Jackass.
However, these are just numbers and as we all know, a lot of things get lost in numbers. I have been out of work more or less for almost a year. My principal assumed I would be able to find another position because I was certified in so many different areas. There hasn't even been a nibble. I suppose things could open up for the next school year, but the fact is that I am not alone. Two things brought this home to me over the course of this year and in the past few weeks.
First, when I was reduced, I immediately went to my home school district and applied to be a substitute. I cannot get my foot in the door because so many of their ex-teachers became substitutes. Of course, that doesn't sound so bad until you realize that substitutes get the robust sum of $75 a day. Others are becoming bus drivers for a similar sum of money per day. We are talking about people with bachelors and masters degrees. Then, a few weeks ago, a few ex-colleagues reached out to me to see if I could get them a job. Why? They had been laid off themselves. In other words, some districts are going through bad layoffs in back to back school years. Does it sound like the educational system is flush with cash?
We could lump on the plight of uninsured children, the mentally ill, and others in our society that need a little help. Texas is really good at turning its back on those folks. One group of people that Texas is really good at supporting is the business community. Dewhurst and his buddy Rick Perry are really good at making the comfortable more comfortable. When you steal from the rich and give to the poor they call you Robin Hood. When you steal from the poor and give to the rich they call you a jackass. Yes sir. Your favorite jackass is running for the U.S. Senate.