I'm pretty sure that's sarcasm. I can tell because Jones starts by saying he cares about education. Then he says he cares about kids. Funny ha ha stuff.Like lots of people who care about education, I surely thought the sky was falling last year, when the Legislature was getting ready to cut education just like any other area of spending.
But what about the kids? I gasped. They're not sacrosanct? Austin would treat schools just like another program -- belt-tightening and everything?
I had visions of massive layoffs, classes doubled up, kids sharing desks, teachers teaching in the dark.
Source: The Dallas Morning News.
After the jump, more biting humor from the editorial office of The Dallas Morning News.
Jones assures readers that schools are getting along just fine. He even tosses in a snide remark that "help from Obama" wasn't even needed. Jones finds all the proof he needs in anecdotal evidence. Sitting at a table with two assistant principals from Garland, Jones tells his readers that they "more or less shrugged when asked what impact the state budget cuts had on their schools." Jones is probably implying that the cuts must not have had any negative impact. I'm more inclined to believe the educators were just beaten into submission.
Jones assures readers that "there haven't been the horror stories I imagined." Then Jones hasn't been paying attention. There have been layoffs, increased class sizes, program cuts and building maintenance deferrals that Jones prefers not to see. Just because the school buildings look pretty much the same from the outside doesn't mean that what goes on inside them hasn't suffered (not even counting the nine schools the Dallas ISD alone closed this year). Jones should have asked some school superintendents to detail the impact of the state budget cuts.
Here is where I think the school districts are failing the community. In the lead-up to the billions in budget cuts imposed by the legislature in 2011, school districts were very vocal, warning loudly and repeatedly of the potential impact on local schools. But once the cuts were reality, once the school districts adapted their own budgets to the smaller state budget, the school districts mostly went silent. Not inactive, just quiet. A thousand or so school districts have joined lawsuits against the state over school funding, but that is playing out away from the public eye. If the Plano (or Richardson) school district has ever publicly documented the price the kids have paid for Austin's budget cutting, I'm not aware of it.
I understand that school districts are caught between a rock and a hard place. If they publicize the cuts, they admit to parents that their kids' education is suffering. That's not easy for any educator to admit. School board members don't get re-elected on a platform of "Public schools suffered on my watch." But if they downplay the cuts, the community is left with the false impression that kids' education is not suffering. Even supposedly well-informed editorial writers who should know better will write things like that.
Those warnings of layoffs, increased class sizes, program cuts and building maintenance deferrals weren't scare stories. They are the reality affecting the education of your kids today.