Sunday, October 23, 2005

It's Karen Felthauser for District 52

The Statesman did an article today, Fed up, pro-education candidates step up, on the fact that there are quite a few educators, already, running for the legislature in 2006. Right off the top I have to say I had a couple of problems with this story, some might say they are minor, and I will leave that up to the readers of this blog. First problem they got Karen Felthauser's name wrong, they listed her first name as Kelly.(Statesman has corrected this in print, will link when I find correction online) -- (here is the link) Second, they interviewed none of the Democratic educators that are running and no Democrats in general.

That said, it does make a few good points like this one:
All this is more than name-calling. Control of the education agenda in the Legislature affects how much money schools have -- and who is going to pay more taxes as a result. The state ranks near the bottom nationally in high-school graduation rates and Scholastic Assessment Test scores, and it's in the bottom 50 percent in teacher pay and per-student spending. School districts are plagued by reports of cheating on standardized tests and concealing dropout rates, among other governance issues.

Long term, the health of the state economy rides on the quality of public education. The friction between legislators and educators raises questions about the chances for reaching consensus on the way forward.
Those are pretty bad statistics and that last paragraph makes a point I've made many times, that a good education for all our children is the best economic development project this state will ever have, better than another mall, that's for sure. They also do a good job of pointing out how the legislature focused on the property tax part of Judge Dietz's ruling and completely ignored the inadequate funding part of the ruling:
Legislative leaders entered 2005 trying to comply with the part of Dietz's ruling that told the school finance system to rely less on property taxes.

But they largely ignored his calls for huge increases in state funding, instead offering a smaller funding boost...
Next we get some fine words from Rep. Bill Keffer:
Rep. Bill Keffer, a Dallas Republican on the House committee, says he tuned out education lobbyists who said they would rather have no funding increase than what the House was offering. "After I heard about the 10th person say that, it almost became pointless for those folks to come testify before the committee, as far as I was concerned personally, because I didn't feel like they were participating in the process in good faith," he says.
That attitude really shows Rep. Keffer's good faith attitude. Remember Rep. Keffer you work for us, not the other way around. We don't care if you get tired of hearing the same thing over and over again, that's your job. The other thing he fails to realize is that the current system with no more funding is much better than the system they proposed with no more money. He then shows the utter contempt he has for teachers by referring to education groups as luddites:
"I imagine someone sitting around, hoisting a mug of ale after busting the printing press thinking, 'Well, we took care of that, didn't we?' " he says. "Well, that lasted for however long it lasted, but it didn't stop progress."
I don't think you can compare the two, I mean does he really believe the teachers are trying to destroy education by asking for more money to be put into the system? Well surely Rep. Kent Grusendorf will straighten this all out:
House Public Education Committee Chairman Kent Grusendorf, R-Arlington, says not all educators opposed the plan. House members behind the plan included former teachers Dianne Delisi and Glenda Dawson, former principal Martha Wong and Rob Eissler, a former school board member.
Wow, that really proves the point 4 former teachers, all Republicans were behind the house plan. Gee, with that kind of bipartisan support it's really amazing that it failed. But if that wasn't enough the real funny part comes next:
At least one of the educators now seeking a House seat says he, too, found the leadership plan "acceptable."

Republican Kelly Hancock has been on the Birdville school board near Fort Worth for 13 years; he also owns a chemical distribution company.

"I'm a businessman, strong conservative, that happened to be involved in education for 13 years," says Hancock, who is running for a seat being vacated by Bob Griggs, R-North Richland Hills.
Once again as you read this part of the article it's really amazing that with all these conservatives and Republicans for this plan that it failed. This goes back to the Republicans plan for the upcoming election. Like I showed from my post on the 65% rule they are going to target moderate Republicans in the primary so they can get more radical, pro-voucher Republicans elected to the legislature.

One other interesting this it points out is the group No Texas Teacher Left Behind, they seem to be doing some good work.

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