Education in Texas

Dear Editor:
The real losers in the Texas funding crisis are twofold – our children and our future. Pretty simple, huh?
While Texas in recent years has been lauded as a role model in withstanding the recession, and, indeed, while many out-of-work or under-employed people would argue with this, Texas has been “blessed” with job losses not quite as severe as some states.
But Texas also has what some suggest is the fastest growing population in the U.S., in part because liberal land-use and zoning policies have kept housing cheap.   And this growing population also is bringing us the highest birth rate in the nation, ranking third in teen pregnancies and No. 1 in repeat teen pregnancies. (Apparently, Gov. Perry, your “abstinence works” policy just doesn’t, and the teen moms and their children are among those most needing public services.)
This also means we need to create jobs to keep up with the growing population. And this need for jobs is further exacerbated when we realize that in the coming years fewer high school graduates will be able to afford college, since grant programs are slated for the chopping block, tossing thousands more young people into an already stressed job market.
Now Gov. Rick Perry’s sort of smoke-and-mirrors budget dialogue has collapsed under the weight of an economic recession that has finally hit the floors of the Legislature, the halls of the school boards and the chambers of university regents and trustees. And since the conservatives in control aren’t likely to pass budget increases, dramatic cuts are the only way to fill the $15 to $25 billion budget deficit.
And remember this comes at a time when Texas already is stingy among those most needy in the state and at a time when public education here is funded near the bottom in spending per pupil, when Texas literacy ranks 47th in the nation, 49th in verbal SAT scores and 46th in math. It comes at a time when Texas leads the nation in the percentage of residents without health...