Acts of Congress
Texas public schools can be dangerous, deceitful and duplicitous. As such, it requires an “Act of Congress” to compel them to permit children to flee rapists and bullies. Because some Texas public schools can’t be trusted, none of them can be trusted.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
The marred children, the educational deficiencies, and the astronomical costs Texans endure at the hands of Texas public schools are the direct result of the way they’re funded. A remote part-time legislature attempts to control a canny, slippery behemoth. It’s impossible and unnecessary. We have 4.2 million children and their families ready willing and able to compel performance from our schools.
Who else operates this way?
Consider what fate would befall a legitimate business if it were operated like a Texas public school.
How do you think your bowling alley, swimming pool, car dealer, barbershop, temple, synagogue, or church would fare if they were run from Austin? What if our friends in the legislature were charged with writing rules for every conceivable conflict, circumstance or situation that your business may face now or in the future?
If the legislature attempted to do so, all liberty, commerce and trade would vanish. Texas public schools outright rejection of the responsibility inherent in unrestricted school choice necessitates the inane legislative micromanagement they currently endure. Texas public schools rejection of responsibility is the reason for their failure.
Texas public schools haven’t collapsed of their own incompetence because the Texas Legislature continues to flood the schools with cash regardless of their performance. The most egregious example of fully funded failure is Wilmer-Hutchins ISD. The families of Wilmer-Hutchins endured more than 40 years of abuse at the hands of Texas public schools. Click Here.
Legitimate business works because you or I can walk away from them at anytime without penalty. Unlike Texas public schools, a legitimate business doesn’t hold our children hostage.
Texas public schools can free themselves from the proscriptions, prescriptions, rules, regulations, codifications, code sections, and requirements, along with the perpetual, pernicious persistent abject failure they’re renowned for if parents are provided the “Power of the Purse.” Once granted, Texas families will assume the monitoring duties the legislature is so unsuited for.
What if Texas public schools continue to refuse?
Until Texas Public Schools take responsibility for their actions, we need more, not less regulation, we need more, not less accountability, we need more, not less responsibility, we need more, not fewer demands, we need more, not less testing, we need more, not less governance, we need more, not less control, we need more, not less supervision, and more, not less micromanagement.
As long as Texas Public Schools insist on unrelenting, unremitting, unconscionable control of 100% of all books, buildings, busses, bonds, cash and kids, Texans rightfully insist that they be 100% responsive to every whim, want, and worry.
The Texas legislature is happy to oblige.
The following is excerpted from the Briefing Book on Public Education Legislation of the 79th Texas Legislative Session prepared by the Division of Governmental Relations of the Texas Education Agency. The document is dated July 2005. It contains 67 new bills from a “so-called” failed legislative session.
What could they have done if they’d really got ramped up?
If Texans had school choice, none of these bills would be necessary. There would have been no need for two special legislative sessions. There would have been no delay in the delivery of textbooks. We would not have expended millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of hours. Every cent and every second could have gone to educate Texas children. Texas endured two special sessions and the concomitant agony and angst because superintendents, unions and the whole host of special interests that make their living on the backs of our children fought Texas families every step of the way.
Thank you Texas public schools.
Let’s review what your intransigence has wrought.
House Bill 283
“… the bill also requires the district’s school board or its designee, on the request of the parent of a student who is a victim of bullying, to transfer the victim to another classroom or another campus other than the classroom or campus the bully attends. To complete this requirement, the board must first verify that the student has been a victim, and may consider past student behavior when identifying a bully.”
The end result of this bill may be salutary. The problem parents see is that you’re compelled to ask permission to save your child from bullying. It may work if the victim is not too intimidated to complain, if the victim is not critically injured as the board deliberates, if the board member concludes that bullying occurred, if the board member is not co-opted, and if there is some place for the victimized student to go.
I’m not sure what makes a Texas school board member a child abuse expert or why a parent must go “Hat in Hand” to beg that his child be freed from an abusive situation. I also don’t understand why, if we conclude that a child has been bullied and abused, the victim must leave. Why isn’t the victim presented with a choice to re-locate or have the perpetrator ejected?
House Bill 283 usurps parental authority while placing tremendous trust in board members with questionable qualifications.
Here’s how a particularly offensive paragraph of the bully bill reads.
Sec 25.0341 (2)(2)(e) The determination by the board of trustees or the board’s designee is final and may not be appealed.
Section 25.0341 (2)(2)(e) is an insult to Texas parents.
Texas parents wouldn’t have brought it up if there weren’t a problem. If my son is being bullied or abused at a Texas public school, there will be no determination, the will be no adjudication, there will be no hesitation. The only thing the Texas public school will see is our taillights receding into the distance.
Here’s how parents would handle a child in distress if Texas public schools were a legitimate business: Click Here
House Bill 308
“This bill requires districts to develop and implement a transfer system for students involved in sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault under the Texas Penal Code. These provisions apply if the student who engaged in the conduct has been convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication for the criminal offense or has been adjudicated by a juvenile court or is on juvenile deferred prosecution or probation for the conduct. Upon the request of the student victim’s parent or guardian, the district must transfer the student who is the victim of sexual assault to a different campus in the district or, if there is only one campus in the district, to another district…..”
Apparently, before this bill, the victim of a sexual assault couldn’t flee? Why does it take an act of congress to permit your little girl or your little boy to leave a dangerous location that has, will or may inflict a devastating attack on their person?
House Bill 3297
“This bill requires districts to post their most current accountability ratings, their most current Academic Excellence Indicator System reports, and their most current School Report Cards on the district website by the 10th day of the school year. The bill also requires districts to include the most current campus performance rating with the first student report card.”
You mean they weren’t posting performance information on their websites before being commanded by congress?
A legitimate business would be striving for success and touting that success. They would strive to discern any and all advantages, build on those advantages and promote them to an eager constituency.
Not Texas public schools. You’ve got to tell them exactly what to do. When valuable information falls in their laps, it’s discarded or ignored.
I read an article about a Texas A&M program. Texas A&M has an information system whereby they communicate a student’s university success or lack thereof to the Texas public school they graduated from. Per the article, the person at the high school that received the reports knew what they were but saw no use for them.
We know that 50 percent of Texas graduates attending Texas state universities require remediation in reading, writing and/or mathematics. Click Here. Wouldn’t it be nice for a high school and the parents of the children therein to know if their students require remediation at a 0% rate, a 100% rate or whatever rate in between?
Valuable information such as this is useless to Texas public schools. They can’t solicit students and the students they have are trapped. Promulgating this type of performance data will generate demands that will not be met. That makes it irrelevant.
Because successful schools are not permitted to communicate their success and offer their services to other students, Texas children continue to trail the nation in academic achievement.
What happens when Texas schools dare to educate? The TEA Commissioner appoints a conservator. Click Here.
House Bill 67
“The legislation designates August 26 as Woman’s Independence Day. There is now a requirement that it be regularly observed by appropriate programs in the public schools and other places to inspire a greater appreciation of the importance of woman’s suffrage.”
Isn’t this nice?
Now, in addition to the federal requirement to teach the US Constitution on September 17 imposed by Senator Byrd of West Virginia and the pending federal requirements embodied in The American History Achievement Act introduced by Senators Lamar of Tennessee and Kennedy of Massachusetts, Texas Educrats must now instruct their charges all about women on August 26.
They brought it on themselves.
Each of these “Acts of Congress” is an attempt to get Texas Educrats to do their job. In Unfunded Mandates that Matter, we learned that the abysmal performance of Texas public schools cost Texas families billions and billions of dollars every year.
For an expanded discussion of Unfunded Mandates That Matter: Click Here
Senate Bill 567
“The bill specifies additional information that is to be provided in the notice published in the newspaper for a public meeting to discuss a school district’s proposed budget and tax rate.”
See Financial Matters Below
Senate Bill 286
“This bill requires public officials to obtain training in the subjects of open meetings and open records. This new requirement applies to members of all governing bodies subject to Chapter 551 and 552 of the Government Code, which includes the Sate Board of Education, State Board of Educator Certification, boards of Regional Education Service Centers, school districts, boards of trustees, and governing bodies of open-enrollment charter schools. The open records requirement also applies to the commissioner, or a public information coordinator responsible for the commissioner’s duties related to open records.”
See Financial Matters Below
House Bill 57
“This bill reduces the number of uniform election dates from four to two, provides for uniform early voting, eliminates school bond and tax elections from the exemptions for the requirement to use a uniform election date, and addresses other matters.”
See Financial Matters Below
House Bill 914
“The bill enacted disclosure requirements that apply to certain school district officials and their family members that received gifts from vendors.”
See Financial Matters Below
Senate Bill 567, Senate Bill 286, House Bill 57, and House Bill 914 deal with notifications, budgets, tax rates, open records, elections, election dates, and vendor gifts.
I believe the financial matters bills were crafted to eliminate the abuse described in the following bond issues. Without parents to select the public, private or parochial school that best serves their families, attempts to reign in Texas public schools will fail. Texas public schools are very, very slippery. They’re hard, they’re fast, and they’re unaccountable. They’re the ultimate survivors.
All of the cited bills contain mind numbing technocratic minutia that no civilized person would subject his worst enemy to. The only people interested in the details of any of these “Acts of Congress” are those earning a living from them, those seeking a contract from them, or Texas public school policy wonks.
You could publicize a Texas school board meeting, budget, or bond issue on ABC, NBC, CBS, ESPN, The Playboy Channel and Fox News. It wouldn’t make any difference. You’d still just get the same few hundred people turning out for the elections and/or meetings.
Nobody else cares. Therein lies the problem.
Why Is This A Problem?
Texas uses an insane system of “Negative Assent” i.e., if I don’t say no I must mean yes. In less than 4 months this system permitted Texas families to become mired in over $100 million dollars of debt approved by less than 1,000 people.
The details follow:
Negative assent permitted Laredo ISD to slide a $60 million dollar bond issue under the table. Only 854 voters out of a registered voter population of over 45,000 assented.
In Laredo, the children can’t identify a skyscraper. What’s their solution? They’re suing America. For an expanded discussion, Click Here.
Will any of the $60 million dollars go into skyscraper instruction? No.
Laredo ISD says they’re building an administration complex, a fine arts complex, a transportation center, a food services center, an orchestra wing and extra field houses.
Negative assent permitted Cleburne ISD to mire local families in $36 Million Dollars of debt. According to the July 18, 2005 Cleburne Times Review, Cleburne families fought gamely, but on the second try the district managed to extract the $36 million with a 33 vote margin.
Cleburne High School was rated “Academically Unacceptable” by the Texas Education Agency in the most recent reporting period. Nevertheless, Cleburne families are now compelled to build new structures that have little to do with instruction.
River Road ISD.
We wrote about River Road ISD in March of this year. Then, as now, the district provides compelling reasons for the childless to support Texas school choice. For an expanded discussion: Click Here.
Everything we speculated might happen has come to pass. River Road residents won the first bond election. River Road ISD was undaunted. They immediately called another bond issue, there was a lawsuit, there was a recount, and there was a passage of the issue by 28 votes. Now, River Road families are swamped under another $16 million dollars of debt.
This is absurd.
These three examples from three districts all occurred within the last four months. Collectively, they immersed unwilling Texas families in more than $100 million dollars of new debt. Two of the districts, River Road and Cleburne, defied the will of the electorate by bringing the bond issue forward again immediately after its defeat. Even with this unconscionable behavior, barely 60 votes cost these hapless communities over $50 million dollars in unnecessary debt.
With 1000+ Texas school districts these scenarios are repeated tens of times per year wasting billions of dollars in superfluous construction when our children need instruction.
Because of the convoluted way we deliver education dollars to Texas schools, we have districts that are deficient academically while simultaneously flushing tens of millions of dollars on unnecessary construction.
Nobody, and I mean nobody, is in a position to eliminate this waste except Texas families with children in those schools.
The bills passed by the legislature will not work as intended. The only way to eliminate the need to micromanage Texas public schools is to provide Texas families with the means to make a choice.
If all Texas parents were provided 100% fully funded fully transferable education vouchers, Texas’ failing schools would turn their attention from politics to education. If they educated our children, they would prosper and grow. Then, and only then, would they have sufficient resources to build their orchestra wings and their fine arts centers.
Let’s empower people who care to assure our children are educated. Parents, not politicians, are the solution to the failures of Texas public schools.
Contact the Governor, your state senator, state representative and your State Board of Education Representative today. Urge them to support Texas children by placing their resources with parents who love them. Urge them to support 100% Fully Funded School Choice in Texas.