Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Austin State Judge John Dietz rules Texas School finance system unconstitutional - finding "there is no free lunch"

"The care of human life and happiness and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government." -Thomas Jefferson

"The perverse are hard to be corrected, and the number of fools is infinite." -Ecclesiastes 2:16
It is a good thing that a Texas state Judge has now ruled again that the Texas school finance system adopted by the state legislaturae violates the state constitution by not providing a fair public education to all children.  

Of course, the case is not over because the State of Texas will appeal to the Texas Supreme Court. 
Since 1984, the Texas Supreme Court has ruled over and over again that the state’s school finance plan is inadequate, inefficient, and unconstitutional. The outcome of the current lawsuit will likely be no different. Why is this the most intractable problem in state government? Class Warfare by Paul Burka - March 2012 - Texas Monthly Click Here
 Who should be blamed for this mess? Ourselves, Burka opined:
 We elected the people who designed the system—the members of the Texas Legislature over the past quarter century. And we stand by while they fail to fix the problem. The constitution and the case law speak clearly about what is required, but in session after session, our lawmakers dig in their heels and refuse to respond. 
Inadequate and Inequitable” Once again a judge rules that the state’s school finance system in unconstitutional. by Sonia Smith Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - Texas Monthly Click Here
In Texas and all over America public education is being undermined by the perverse actions of powerful people and the foolish creation of false standards. Both fuel the myth that American public schools are such a failure that any old so-called reform will do. This helps to  advance the real objective of privatizing public education for the economic benefit of private profiteers. 

This has been going on for decades but never before has the sell-out of public education been so blatant.

What plutocrat or politician or false educator believes that American public schools will reach the unrealistic goals of the test and punish No Child Left Behind Act by the Year 2014?

Duncan: 'No Child Left Behind' creates failure for U.S. schools - Click Here

"Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Wednesday his department estimates that four out of five schools in the United States will not make their "No Child Left Behind" benchmarks by the the law's target year of 2014 ... He blamed that failure rate on the law itself, not on schools."
Whatever public education is becoming, it won't be controlled by the public, and it won't be for the benefit of children. 

Poor children will remain left behind. The money and resources will be transferred into the pockets of adults pushing the latest test and punish accountability fads and into non-union charter schools that increase racial re-segregation and reduce teacher income and experience, while using public funds - but are being governed by unelected and undemocratic private organizations.

It is a shame. 


"The system Texas uses to fund public schools violates the state's constitution by not providing enough money to school districts and failing to distribute the money in a fair way, a judge ruled Monday in a landmark decision that could force the Legislature to overhaul the way it pays for education." Associated Press

 —Eric Gay/Associated Press

"Attorney Rick Gray, center, who represented more than 400 districts located mostly in poorer areas of the state of Texas, reacts as he is congratulated following a ruling on Monday in Austin, Texas, contending that the Texas school finance system violated the state constitution.By Will Weissert - Associated Press
Click Here - Education Week

From NPR-Click Here
"The former lieutenant governor (Bill Ratliff) said it best: Essentially, school districts are being asked to make bricks without straw," said Trachtenberg, whose coalition includes mostly richer districts. "Schools need money for smaller class sizes, particularly in the earlier grades.

"They need money for remediation in the form of tutoring or after-school programs. They need money to retain and hire quality teachers. They need money to have full day pre-K programming. These things all cost money."
State Judge John Dietz rules Texas School finance system unconstitutional - Video

(Austin, TX)//Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) today released the following statement on Judge John Dietz's decision in the Texas school finance system lawsuit:

"Judge Dietz's decision affirms what most of us already know: the state of Texas continues to shamelessly shortchange our children's schools.  The sad truth is that for years the state has relied on stopgap measures and focused more on tax relief than strong schools.  Hopefully this latest in a long line of decisions will force the legislature to truly and systemically address the inequities in our school finance system to ensure that every child in every school -- regardless of wealth -- has access to a top-notch education.

"The ruling also reinforces the simple fact that investment matters.  Hopefully that spurs the legislature to take action and reverse course on last session's disastrous $5 billion cuts to our kids' schools.  We need to reinstate that funding as a down-payment on a new Texas promise to our schools, and then embark on the difficult task of enacting a comprehensive school finance reform that finally ensures real investment and real improvement in education."