Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Billion Dollar Bake Sale

Well here's another way to finance education...or show how ridiculously counterproductive the cuts to education funding have been in Texas...

"Last month, education advocates and teachers staged a cupcake bake sale in front of the state capitol to help “raise money” for Texas schools. The intent of this ironic bake sale actually was not to raise money, but to raise awareness of the significant cuts public education has absorbed since the last legislative session.  Texas public schools endured $5.4 billion in cuts from the state legislature, leaving school districts with the difficult task of raising local revenue and/or cutting personnel or instructional programs to make up the shortfall."

"Governor Rick Perry was not present for the bake sale but was asked by a journalist if he would be interested in buying a cupcake. Perry responded, “I hope they raise some money, there are a lot of folks who put dollars into private sector efforts to improve education I would think that they would support private sector vouchers for public schools. That’s another idea they might work on,” said Perry."


"Did that make sense to anybody?"

"The deep cuts placed on public education by Perry and the 82nd legislature has led to a public outcry (and multiple lawsuits) to fix the state’s school funding system. Public education advocates are “selling” billion-dollar cupcakes to support make up the budget shortfall for Texas public schools (a constitutional requirement of the state government) and the elected leader of the state of Texas suggests they should work to support private sector vouchers instead? Where are your pitchforks? Where is your outrage?"

"The democratically elected leader of the state of Texas has shrugged off the state’s responsibility to education and is overtly suggesting privatizing education with vouchers. (Let’s hypothetically assume that this in some way actually solves the funding problem, which actually doesn’t go away when you merely spread the state’s limited education funds around to include private recipients.)  Perry’s ill-conceived solution to the public education funding crisis is to move public tax dollars into vouchers that will in turn be transferred to parents in the name of “school choice.” Those vouchers will then find their way into the hands of charter school conglomerates and private schools – groups that are not accountable to taxpayers. (When was the last time you had a chance to elect your school board representative for your community charter or private school?)"

"The truth is that with that very statement, Governor Perry sends a clear message that he has no interest is following the tenets of the Texas state constitution (Article, 7, Section 1), which establishes the requirement for a public school system in Texas. Instead of restoring funding to public education (which failed to keep up with statewide enrollment growth for the first time in decades), updating the 21year old Cost of Education Index, and working with the legislature to fix the structural tax deficit that is largely responsible for the budget crisis. The governor is instead calling for a budget compact to continue to cut legislative spending and funnel taxpayer money from public education into private hands.. His flippant solution to public education cuts is privatization, which still would require the state to dig deep to fund the 160,000 students they ignored last session. Governor, it you don’t have a plan to fix the education crisis in your state. And clearly, you don’t care."

"Where is our leadership? Where is our outrage?"

Read the rest of the article here...

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