What Do You Think?
Unfunded Mandates in the Public School System Hurt Children
Dave Zenker on the need for school choice
Unfunded Mandates That Matter
Texas Educrats love to complain about difficulties, disparities, and dichotomies that lead their universal desperation regarding the imposition of "Unfunded Mandates." They're not the only ones with an ax to grind. Thanks to the incompetence, ineptitude and indifference of many Texas Educrats, every man, woman and child in Texas chafes under their own "Unfunded Mandates." Texan's are sick of it.
Every time a Texas public school teacher, superintendent, employee or board member wastes resources, fails to educate a child, turns a blind eye to corruption or engages in cronyism, Texas families bear an "Unfunded Mandate."
Texas public schools waste billions and billions of dollars a year in both hard and opportunity costs. Every Texas child emerging from a Texas public schools that cannot read, write and compute has a limited future constricted by a poor education. The billions of dollars Texas parents are compelled to spend for remedial training at both the K12 and collegiate level is staggering. Fifty percent of Texas high school graduates attending college require remediation.
For additional information: Click Here.
Texas public schools deliver this abysmal performance despite the fact that they're absolutely awash in cash. Everyone in Texas pays more than $1,500/each to educate our children. In inflation adjusted terms, this is more than 4 times the amount we spent in 1968.
Thanks to Texas public schools one size fits all, my way or the highway, hurray for me and forget you attitude towards educating our children, we get fry cooks when we need scientists.
Does this bother Texas public schools? No. They're models of audacity and arrogance. Despite their demonstrable failure to educate our children, barely half the money Texans invest in education goes into the classroom.
What are they doing with the money that's not used to educate? Wasting it.
The problem is obvious, as is the solution. We must have fully funded unrestricted education vouchers constructed so that the dollars follow the child. Only then, faced with an end to the largess, will Texas public schools perform.
What are some of the "Unfunded Mandates That Matter?" Let's review:
By Texas public schools own analysis, as many as 40% of Texas teachers should be fired. Due to archaic and hidebound work rules, eliminating the 118,800 failed Texas Educrats and directing those dollars to competent Educators is impossible. The lost potential of millions of Texas minds compounded year after year after year is staggering.
For additional information: Click Here
Here's how Texas Public Schools work.
Texas throws over $34 Billion dollars into a broken, sputtering system annually. Our children are then directed to the school most convenient for the state. Upon arrival, our kids have only a 50/50 chance that they'll be placed with a competent Educator.
If the parents conclude that his child has been assigned to an incompetent Educrat, they're then forced to tutor their children themselves or to pay for competent private instructors. If the family cannot afford private tutoring or personally assume the Educrats responsibilities, they're forced to watch, as their children are condemned to a third rate education and a second-class life.
The requirement for Texans to pay teachers that are acknowledged as incompetent by the school that employs them is another Texas public school imposed:
Texas Superintendents "Consulting":
Many of our highly compensated superintendents accept thousands of dollars for "Consulting."
For additional information: Click Here.
They're "Consulting" for vendors selling goods and services to their districts. These public employees happily compromise their integrity by accepting thousands of dollars from their district's vendors.
We're to believe that superintendents, accepting money from vendors while sequestering themselves with vendors at the vendors expense at vendor sponsored retreats while the vendors are there for the explicitly stated purpose of acquiring more business from the superintendent's district, are going to negotiate an arms length transaction that's favorable to the district.
Even assuming the superintendent's intentions are honest, why is the CEO of the district, an individual earning hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, tending to the acquisition of napkins and hot dogs? Why not send your $70,000/year purchasing manager to handle supply purchases? If the district's purchasing manager is any good, he knows what the product is worth, understands the ins and outs of vendor negotiation and can make a much better deal than any superintendent.
Regardless of whether the superintendent's intentions are insidious or innocent he's going to waste tens of thousands, perhaps even millions of dollars by assuming a role inappropriate to his position and expertise.
Texas school superintendents' insistence on "Consulting" for their vendors and the inevitable corruption and ineptitude it will inflict on Texas public schools is another Texas public school imposed:
If you look up unfunded mandate in the dictionary, it will say Wilmer-Hutchins ISD. Wilmer-Hutchins' children have been ignored and abused for over 40 years.
For additional information: Click Here. And Click Here
Now, there's been yet another insult to Texas families. Some Wilmer-Hutchins "Educators" were caught stealing everything that wasn't bolted to the floor. According to Dallas Morning News reports from July 21, 2005 and July 22, 2005 and a WBAP report from July 22, 2005 these "Educators" were caught on videotape stealing office equipment, chairs, furniture and computers. Because these Texas public school "Educators" cannot be trusted, the Texas Rangers have been called in to conduct an inventory of district property.
What a maddening travesty.
Over the life of Wilmer-Hutchins ISD, tens of thousands of children did not get the education they paid for. How many minds were lost? How many criminals created? Had these Wilmer-Hutchins children had good role models and received a quality education, how many physicians, educators, statesmen and business leaders would we have created?
The 40 years of abuse embodied in this one tragic chapter in the history of Texas public education represents hundreds of millions, if not hundreds of billions of dollars of squandered potential. Both the families and the state, may never recover the loss.
While the Wilmer-Hutchins sham played out, Austin watched.
The hideous conduct of Wilmer-Hutchins ISD is another Texas public school imposed:
Requesting Another Teacher:
Dallas Morning News columnist Scott Parks advises us in his July 17, 2005 article how best to diplomatically request that your child not be placed with a certain Texas public school teacher.
The name of the person inquiring is, of course, withheld for their protection. To do otherwise might permit an angry Texas public school "Educator" to retaliate against an innocent child.
Mr. Parks makes these recommendations for parents when they go "hat in hand" to the Texas Public Schools they're paying for.
"Do not ask the principal to put your daughter in Ms. X's class because you believe she is the best teacher. The principal won't respond well because schools want parents to believe that all their teachers are good, which, of course, is not true."
Further, Mr. Parks cautions the parent to couch the request in terms producing an outcome that the principal desires, i.e.. tell the principal that the requested teacher teachers in a manner that will permit your child to excel academically. Good scores make the principal look good.
Finally, Mr. Scott cautions that no principal wants anyone to know that they play favorites and accommodate some over others, however, they do,
As is obvious from these explicit instructions, the needs of the child and the desires of the parents are of little concern to Texas public schools. Apparently, the only people accommodated are people that have the time, wherewithal, insight, interest and ability to play Texas public school politics. PTA people, parents that volunteer, those who have shown appropriate fealty to the principal, those who have curtsied and genuflected to our taxpayer supported autocrats, and those who have stooped and groveled before Texas public school martinets may be advised that His Excellency, the principal, has deigned to grant the parent's request on his child's behalf.
Submitting to Texas public schools tyranny is a loss for Texas families, whichever way it goes.
If a parent must prance and dance while spending precious time and treasure to please the people he pays just to get his child in an appropriate class, the family is denied the alternative use of those resources. That might be called, an "Unfunded Mandate."
If the effort to change teachers is successful, the child is taught that he must bow and scrape on command to please officious minions.
If the parent's efforts to take care of their children are unsuccessful, the child knows he's suffering under a regime that his parents couldn't conquer. His life is negatively impacted because his school has no interest in maximizing his education and his parents were powerless to stop it.
Either way, every time a child's future becomes a Texas Educrats "Personal Piñata" another family is damaged by Texas public schools.
Enduring this abuse and the irreparable harm it inflicts upon Texas families by Texas public schools is another:
Teacher Pays Student To Burn Her Car
What if you wanted to get your child out of this teacher's class?
According to a June 29, 2005 Houston Chronicle article, Tramesha Fox, an Aldine High School chemistry teacher, offered two students a passing grade in her class if they would torch her vehicle.
This Texas public school teacher is now charged with insurance fraud and arson. The two students she enticed into a life of crime are charged with arson.
Rather than playing Texas public school politics, wouldn't it have been nice if the parents of these Texas children could have simply walked away? If Texas public schools were held to the same standard as legitimate businesses, two Texas children might not be felons.
The children enticed into lives of crime by criminals employed by Texas public schools contribute mightily to the angst and anxiety Texas families are compelled to endure. This is another Texas public school:
Highly Qualified Instructor:
Every "so-called" unfunded mandate born by Texas public schools is simply a demand that they do their job, i.e., teach our children to read, write and compute.
What happens when Texas Educrats are not scrutinized? What happens when they're left to their own devices? What happens when we trust our "Educators" to educate?
A May 20, 2005 Dallas Morning News article is illustrative.
Linda Hosey is a 40 something PTA mom who decided she wanted to be a social studies teacher.
"I wanted to make a difference in young people's lives," she said.
She attended Texas Tech, graduated in 2002 summa cum laude with a perfect 4.0 average.
Then, when she started applying for jobs at North Texas High Schools, she got the cold shoulder. Everyone she spoke with said social studies jobs were set-aside for coaches. If you're not a coach you don't have a prayer of getting an interview, much less a job.
According to the article:
Linda went to a teacher's job fair last spring and tried to talk to as many local districts as she could. She said about a dozen of them gave her variations on the same theme: Be a coach and we'll think about hiring you.
Last month, she e-mailed one local principal about a possible vacancy for the fall, "There will probably not be any additional openings in social studies this year," the principal wrote back. "The need to have coaches has already filled social studies."
Because Texas public schools are not alone in this negligent behavior, the Feds imposed another mandate. Effective May 24, 2005 every school and college that receives federal money must teach about the United States Constitution on September 17, the anniversary of the day the document was adopted.
It gets worse.
According to a July 1, 2005 Boston Globe article, Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts introduced the American History Achievement Act.
This legislation will stand separately from, therefore becoming a mandate in addition to, requirements imposed by No Child Left Behind.
According to the article:
"National history and civics assessments show that most fourth-graders can't identify the opening passage of the Declaration of Independence, and that most high school seniors can't explain the checks-and-balances theory behind the three branches of the US government. Testifying in favor of proposed legislation, the history specialists – including renowned historian David McCullough – told a Senate education committee that most of the country's schoolchildren lack sufficient knowledge to become informed voters and don't understand why they enjoy rights like free speech and freedom of religion. "
Once again, we must "mandate" that Educrats do their job.
Every "so-called unfunded mandate" imposed on Texas schools is the direct result of their years long dereliction of duty. This new requirement is just the latest insult to Texas families compelled to place their children with incompetent Educrats when competent Educators are clamoring for the position.
As illustrated above, when a truly Highly Qualified Instructor presents herself she's declined employment. Without mandated testing, cronyism carries the day in Texas public schools.
The failure of Texas public schools to teach even the basics of how our government works makes Texas students susceptible to deceit, coercion, propaganda and treason. Inflicting this level of ignorance upon Texas children may result in the ultimate "Unfunded Mandate," the loss of our country and our freedom.
The necessity for Texans to pay the Texas Legislature, the Texas Education Agency, the United States Senate and the US Department of Education, along with the tens of thousand of bureaucrats they collectively employ, to waste time checking up on wayward Educrats is another Texas public school imposed:
International Business Failures:
July 8, 2005 article published by the Canadian Broadcasting Company interviewed Katsuaki Watanabe. Mr. Watanabe is the president of Toyota Motor Corp.
Toyota turned its back on hundreds of millions of dollars offered by several American states as an inducement to build its plant in the US.
According to the article:
"Several U.S. states were reportedly prepared to offer more than double the amount of subsidy. But Fedchum (Gerry Fedchun is president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association) said much of that money would have been eaten away by higher training costs than are necessary for the Woodstock project."
"He said Nissan and Honda have encountered difficulties getting new plants up to full production in recent years in Mississippi and Alabama due to an untrained – and often illiterate – work force. In Alabama, trainers had to use "pictorials" to teach some illiterate workers how to use high-tech plant equipment."
Because public schools, Texas' among them, are not teaching our children to read, write and compute, no US state was considered for this windfall.
The loss of the prosperity, the opportunity and the growth this manufacturing facility provides is another Texas public school imposed:
Local Business Failures:
On July 20, 2005, I went to a local salad bar. The tab was a little less than $7.00, I handed the young woman a twenty-dollar bill. She inadvertently punch in $10.00 on the register, the machine returned the change amount for a ten-dollar remittance.
She was dumbfounded. She realized what she'd done and said:
"I don't know how much change to give you."
I told her to count out what the machine said and add another $10.00. She did that plus an additional $5.00. It confused her when I gave her back the extra $5.00. She just took my word for it that her computation was wrong.
The inability of Texas high school graduates to make even the simplest of calculations resulting in losses, confusion and customer dissatisfaction bears heavily on Texas small businesses and people who need the jobs they provide.
Uneducated Texas youths holding a Texas High School Diploma is another Texas public school imposed:
Need More Examples?
It's easy to find other "Unfunded Mandates" imposed by Texas public schools on our children, our families, and our future.
To do so to go Google,
enter the following into the search box:
"Any ISD" XXX
where XXX = a search term like:
Accident ---- Arrest
Attorney ---- Bribery
Bullying ---- Conspiracy
Convicted --- Defendant
Droupouts --- Drugs
Fight --- Fraud
Gangs --- Guilt
Guilty --- Gun
Incident --- Indicted
Innocent --- Knife
Narcotics --- Petitioner
Plaintiff --- Prison
Rape --- Respondent
Sentence --- Sexual Assault
Theft --- Weapon
You'll be appalled at the amount of violence your child is forced to witness and/or be subjected to at Texas public schools. You'll cry at the vast sums wasted by Texas Educrats, money that should have been used to educate our children.
Every tragedy you find as you search the web could have been avoided or ameliorated if Texas parents were permitted to select the public, private or parochial school that best suits their children's needs. When parents are in charge, children receive the best education and the best care, in the safest environment available. Thus empowered, Texas children will have a real opportunity to get a real education permitting them to live the best life possible.
Mandating attendance at low performing, graft ridden, and violent schools is an unconscionable burden on your children, your family, and Texas. It's another Texas public school:
The so-called "Unfunded Mandates" Texas public schools chafe under were imposed as a direct consequence of their dereliction of duty. Both NCLB and the TAKS are nothing more than a requirement that Texas public schools prove they're doing their job. If we had confidence that Texas public schools were educating our children, there would be no need for either.
Texans have no such confidence.
The TAKS and NCLB are not unfunded mandates. They're job requirements. If Texas public schools were run like a legitimate business, they would approach the requirements confident in the knowledge that children in their charge can read, write and compute. Unfortunately, in a land that espouses freedom, there's little that's legitimate about Texas public schools
Because Texas Educrats haven't been doing their jobs, Texans have been forced to bear billions and billions and billions of dollars in true "Unfunded Mandates." The current and opportunity costs inflicted by Texas public schools on the people of Texas are incalculable. Countless Texas children, families, and businesses have been hung out to dry by failed Texas public schools.
It doesn't have to be this way.
If we're serious about perpetuating a free and prosperous Texas we'll eliminate the graft, the lies, the danger, the abuse and the deceit from our children's education. We'll assure that every Texas child receives a quality education from competent Educators. Through fully funded, fully transferable education vouchers, we'll provide parents "The Power of the Purse." With vouchers, Texas parents will select the public, private or parochial school that best serves their needs.
Work With Us!
Contact the Governor, your state senator, state representative and your State Board of Education Representative today. Urge them to support 100% Fully Funded School Choice in Texas.
To locate your state representatives: Click Here.