Monday, October 1, 2012

Yes, Budget Cuts Hurt Schools

In June, this was the attitude of Rodger Jones (editorial writer for The Dallas Morning News and Richardson resident) towards the state budget cuts for public schools:
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.
Those horror stories didn't come true, right? All's cool in school, right? After the jump, clearing up cloudy vision.

Last week, a coalition of non-profits released initial findings of an investigation into just what impact the legislature's $5.4 billion cut to the state budget had on public schools. As summarized by The Texas Tribune:
There are two immediate take-aways. First, districts absorbed the cuts in diverse ways. Second, many of them were unable to do that without laying off teachers. Despite an average increase of 83,000 students statewide in each of the last four years, districts eliminated more than 10,000 teaching positions last year. That came as about a third of districts dipped into their emergency fund balances in 2011-2012 to compensate for state shortfalls.
Source: Texas Tribune.
The source of this information? A survey of the 17 largest school districts and 120 randomly sampled districts across the state. "The researchers also conducted site visits to districts across the state."

Jones's source for his sarcastic dismissal of the harm being done to education in Texas? Two assistant principals from Garland who shrugged when Jones asked about the impact of state budget cuts on their schools.

1 comment:

glbeach said...

1. Schools had no choice but to absorb the cuts - what is the alternative, a 'going out of business' sale? Not in education.

2. The damage to education (which actually started subsequent to the 'Robin Hood' ruling when now Senator John Cornyn was Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court) will scarcely be measurable in a one year time frame - just as a child's education is not that different between say 4th and 5th grades. The impact will be cumulative over the full education cycle of those impacted.

3. Anyone who believes no damage was done or is being done simply has not stepped into a public school. No doubt they manage as best they can, but so many responsibilities and so little authority has devolved to the local schools it leads one to believe the real goal of the G.O.P. primacy in Texas is to destroy public education. And Texas appears to be well on it's way to doing just that.