Fighting to make sure that education funding actually goes to Texas schools and teachers, Congressman Lloyd Doggett has inserted Texas-specific language into the education and jobs bill to prevent our state government from diverting education funding to fill budget holes elsewhere. Doggett's amendment, which passed in the Senate, is designed to prevent another bait-and-switch by Perry, in which emergency education funds go to balancing the budget, rather than helping our school kids. Texas is currently slated to get approximately $830 million of the $10 billion education and jobs bill, and Doggett is rightfully concerned that anti-education Perry won't use the funds as intended.
According to the Department of Education, Doggett's amendment would save 15,400 jobs in Texas. From a statement released by Rep. Doggett's office, emphasis mine:
Governor Perry didn't have any problem ordering every 6th grade girl to be vaccinated for a sexually transmitted disease. He didn't have any problem denying $3.2 billion in additional federal education monies to our local schools. This amendment says we have had enough. We have listened to the needs of parents and school leaders across Texas, we overcame the opposition of the Obama Administration, and we are writing into federal law a requirement that provides accountability for taxpayer dollars and prevents federal education dollars from being diverted again from local schools.
There is no Constitutional limitation on doing right by our Texas schoolchildren. The obligation that this amendment places on Texas is to spend new education dollars on education purposes. Our schoolchildren deserve no less. And that is why this approach has enjoyed the support of the Texas Association of School Boards and statewide groups representing teachers, principals, and school administrators from across the State.
Compliance is very easy, unless there remains a hidden Republican agenda to avoid accountability and to engage in more of the shenanigans of last year, which replaced state education dollars with federal dollars, leaving our schools no better off than if we had done nothing. Instead of concocting phony legalistic arguments to deny our local schools the funds that they so desperately need, Governor Perry should join with us in support of public education.
This is a crucially necessary effort by Doggett — some $3 billion in federal stimulus money designated last year for Texas education was used to replace state money instead of increasing the investment in public education.
We must invest in education here in Texas, and invest in our economic future. We need kids that are ready to compete in the 21st Century. Texas can't afford to squander the minds of our future leaders with lackluster education funding. Kudos to Representative Doggett for fighting so hard on this issue, and doing all he can to make sure that Texas school children get the quality education that they need and deserve.