Rick Perry prevailed upon Republicans to withdraw their children from the state's elementary and secondary public schools while giving a keynote address to a group of Texas conservative business leaders at a recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Houston.
While reluctantly admitting that Texas faces fiscal challenges the Governor refused to acknowledge a $30 billion deficit. It seems that Texas does not do shortfalls much less deficits. But Mr. Perry did concede that the budget was such that school funding would be deeply cut. The Governor assured those present that the solution to the school budget crunch is the creation of more affordable private Christian elementary and secondary schools.
Now I know most of you present here have already enrolled your children in some of our state's finest private schools. But I want to make private schools more accessible to Republican Christian families that cannot afford to pay high tuition and for those who cannot home school their children. In a city like Houston private school tuition can cost between $10,000 to $25,000 per year per child.
In a Q&A following the Governor's talk a member of the press corps asked how much funding would be cut from school budgets. Mr. Perry's response:Texas GOP Economics 101: More for the greedy. Less for the needy.
Well, there is a lot of fat to cut from our public schools, especially those in our biggest urban areas like Houston and Dallas. I am concerned that some the highly diverse Magnet public schools in this city are becoming hotbeds for liberalism. Do we really need free school bus service, Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, Asian-Pacific Heritage Month, ESL, special needs and enrichment programs like music, art or math Olympiad? I think we should get back to the basics of the three Rs, reading writing and arithmetic. I mean when is the last time a 6th grade science fair project yielded a cure for a disease?
The audience chuckled.
When asked by a participant about budget cut's impact on High School Advanced Placement Programs the Governor responded:
I really don't see why high schools should have to teach college level courses like calculus, economics, physics, chemistry or biology. Not all children go to college anyway. Texas has plenty of on the job training programs that teach skills and trades. Oil field workers need to know how to operate machines that extract oil. They don't need calculus to do their job.
The audience chuckled again.
Mr. Perry moved on to speak about his initiatives for creating affordable private schools in large urban areas such as Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, Corpus Christi and the Rio Grande Valley and El Paso.
Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and I have met with leaders in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and area evangelical churches. The goal is to establish affordable fundamentalist Christian learning and cultural centers that would serve as an alternative to public schools. Republican members of the State Board of Education have graciously agreed to step down from their positions and serve as curriculum specialists for the Christian cultural centers. A limited number of tuition waivers will be made available for economically disadvantaged Christian Republican voters.
Mr. Perry admitted that he was moved by Markos Mouilitas and his recent book entitled
The American Taliban
The Governor agreed that there is much to be shared among Muslim and Christian fundamentalist believers especially where education is concerned.
I have no problem if curriculum specialists and teachers decide to replace language arts and literature with bible study. The Christian learning center's students will have to do quite a bit of praying once they graduate and enter the global market place.
The Governor has a point.
When another member of the press corps pressed the Governor to disclose more information on the $30 budget shortfall, Rick Perry changed the subject. According to Rick Perry
Texas has a strong economy, good schools and plenty of jobs. But if jobs fall short U.S. Chamber of Commerce partners in China and India have agreed to hire Texas laborers.
We can always count on Governor Rick Perry and his business buddies to step up for indentured servant status.
Rick Perry obviously has serious issues with honesty and credibility.
In more ways than one.
According to a writer for the San Antonio Current a boatload of hurt and pain is about to dock at the great state of Texas.
If you're like most people, you probably look at TV and newspaper stories about Texas' anticipated $27 billion budget shortfall and the proposed budget cuts likely to come and your eyes glaze over before deciding, “Well, it won't affect me.”
The Texas Legislative Budget Board last week released the first draft of a proposed budget for fiscal years 2012 and 2013. Now that legislators, school superintendents, hospital administrators, and community college leaders have had the chance to pick themselves up off the floor and assess the potential damage to public school instruction, medical care, and more, it is becoming clear that nearly every Texan will feel the squeeze.
An editorial writer for the Houston Chronicle also reveals the forthcoming pain that will be delivered to the people of Texas.
Hey you! Teacher who's going to lose your job, stop worrying. There's no state budget shortfall.
Hey you, community college student who's going to lose your financial aid, and maybe even your campus, stop whining. There's no budget shortfall.
Hey you, kid from the poor side of town who could lose your health insurance and probably your access to pre-school, stop crying. There's no budget shortfall.
There can't be. This is Texas. And according to Gov. Rick Perry, we don't have shortfalls in Texas. And certainly not deficits.
We may have “budget challenges,” as Perry termed them in his inauguration speech. They may be challenges that require more than $30 billion in cuts. Those cuts may lead to, among many other things, the elimination of nearly 10,000 state jobs and as many as 100,000 public education jobs, loss of financial aid for 60,000 students; and $2 billion in cuts to programs like Medicaid, CHIP and food stamps that keep our most vulnerable citizens alive.
But, hey, no biggie.
Lost jobs and health insurance aren't exactly urgent matters. And investing in our state's future through the education of our young people is no emergency.
Rick Perry and his Texas Republican politicians can hire all of the spin doctors on the planet that money can buy. But no amount of spinning, smoke, mirrors, voodoo magicians, lipstick or perfume will hide the $30 billion reeking pig in the room. The cuts will be devastating and real. Thousands will lose jobs. Schools will be closed. The elderly on Medicaid will likely get kicked out of their nursing homes. Students won't be able to get loans to go to college. Students who have loans and are in college will have to drop out. School children will be short changed by having bigger classes and fewer teachers. Impoverished sick children will remain sick. The hungry will starve to death. Some doctors that treat Medicaid patients will have to close their practices.
So much for the resounding success of unyielding, uncompromising conservative fiscal policies. Where Republican economic policies are concerned it always come down to the same thing: more for the greedy, less for the needy.
Rick Perry and his Republican Party have no shame. They know no shame. The heartless clones of Marie Antoinette will know no pain either. We get to do the pain part and right now Rick Perry and his ilk are telling us to eat angel fools cake to make the hurt go away.
Welcome to the first third world state of the United States of America.