March 24, 2022

Cut the Test, Pay the Teachers

By Glenn

Our Texas founding fathers knew we needed to guarantee public education if our State was to continue to be successful. They wrote:

A general diffusion of knowledge being essential to the preservation of the liberties and rights of the people, it shall be the duty of the Legislature of the State to establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools.

Education funding is the Texas State Legislature’s responsibility, not local school boards.   We have seen, however, the legislature continually cutting the state’s share of education cost.

By dodging the Texas Legislature’s constitutional responsibility, Republicans can cut corporate taxes.  Local Independent Schools Districts are left holding the bag.  To keep our schools open, Texas ISDs raise taxes.

Who pays local ISD taxes? Local home owners and small businesses do.  Big businesses often dodge these taxes.  They demand tax abatements from local government and threaten to leave if they don’t get a break.

This one-two punch leaves you and I holding the bag.  I’ve lived in Texas since 1995 and every year my taxes go up.  Every year is the same old dance. Republicans cut corporate taxes and raise ours.

What needs to be happening is the opposite. We need to shift more of this responsibility from property taxes to the state. We also need to raise the homestead exemption to really cut local property taxes from the bottom up.

Texas Republicans have also raised the cost of local education.  They have created unfunded mandates like standardized tests.

Standardized tests are bubbling exercises on steroids. These exams directly cost over $90 million per year.  The indirect costs are even higher.

For example, schools counselors rarely counsel students anymore.  They can’t help students work through the emotional trauma of losing a parent or a friend.

Standardized testing often takes them away from that critical job.  They have to count and secure the exam when it arrives at the school.  They have to train the students and the teachers in burdensome test regulations.

We waste millions of dollars a year and force every Independent School District to prepare and administer these tests.  The exams do nothing but terrorize our teachers and students.

Texas Republicans need to follow the Texas Constitution.  Texas must have an efficient system of public free schools.  Texas Republicans must improve Texas education, not destroy it.

Cut the test.  Pay the teachers.

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