Sunday, May 8, 2011

Legislative Stupidity Persists re: HB 400: education bill seeking to raise class size and other silly ideas

“Where have all the leaders gone?” --- Lee Iacocca

by Peter Stern

Texas has a budget shortfall and is striving to balance the budget by cutting items not needed, according to the Governor and his merry band of Legislators.  In truth, many of the items ARE needed by hard-working Texans and their children.

I believe the Texas Legislature should make intelligent cuts in the proposed 2011 budget, including to find cheaper living quarters for Governor and Mrs. Perry, getting rid of the Speaker’s opulent residence inside the Capitol, making large businesses pay their fair share of taxes, stop cutting social programs that work, stop diverting tax dollars to other interests.

HB 400 strives to allow schools to determine locally to increase class sizes to compensate for the firing of teachers due to what the State calls a budget crunch. Texas already is number 40 on the list of States financial allotment to public education.  It also is at the bottom of the list for quality of education. Consequently, the bill is stupid and so are legislators for continuing to put educational REAL needs on hold.

It should be common knowledge that Rick Perry is the cause for many of our urgent issues because he juggles and plays too many political games with our lives, e.g., now with the bill to force losers of “frivolous lawsuits” to pay court costs.  Perry’s big business friends must love him.

Perry is trying to assert pressure to gain more control over issues and citizens.  FYI, despite the budget deficit Gov. Perry has spent more than $600,000 in public money during the past two years to live in a sprawling rental home in the Texas hill country.  The 5-bedroom, 7-bath mansion rental costs more than $10,000 per month and parties thrown there cost more than $130,000 with campaign dollars.

Yet public education expenditures continue to drop and teachers are on the list of endangered species. School property taxes are almost certain to significantly increase during the next several years to compensate for the State cuts.

There is mega data on the fact that large class sizes interferes with quality teaching.  Increasing class sizes further is a ridiculous notion.  Throwing more money at a failing education system also is absurd. For the past decade there have been many Commission(s) on Public Education with too many special interests serving on them and getting nowhere.

During the past decade the State has deferred more and more of its financial responsibility for Public Education onto local government, who in turn increases the property taxes of homeowners to make up the difference.

The responsibility for our issues and problems rests with the Governor, who is supposed to guide the Legislature and special interests to work together in the best interests of the Texas community.  Has Perry done that in his 4 terms as Governor?   I think not.

I have to quote famous entrepreneur and businessman Lee Iacocca when he asked the question (and title of his book), “Where have all the leaders gone?” 

So, where HAVE all the leaders gone? We desperately need some both here in Texas and in Washington D.C.

In fact, let’s put one of Governor Perry’s proposed toll booths at the entrance way to the Capitol and charge legislators to enter the building.  Let’s also provide them with an incentive program that rewards them for every GOOD idea they come up with.


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