The past few days in Texas have been enlightening as far as patriot groups and news outlets are concerned. Granted, the frustration of Texans with this legislative session is at an all time high. The most disturbing part of all is the number of patriot leaders seeking moments of “limelight” in the press, without having the facts. Assuredly, most of these people mean well. However, there is a sacred honor that should be evident, when trusted sources report to the people.
Let’s begin by talking about the time between the election and the legislative session. There were no doubts about Speaker Joe Straus, due to his track record previously in the state as speaker and representative. The man is liberal, and makes decisions based upon his own needs. Yet, there was a primary teaparty leader of a group in Houston Texas who wrote an article that it didn’t matter if Joe was elected Speaker of the House. Per this leader, the people could “control” the legislature. After all, we were awake. This tea party leader has a fair amount of reach and knowledge. Today, I might say to her followers, you believe in her credibility – WHY?
Having spent hours and weeks in Austin, studying the legislature and bills, it is astounding to see the number of misinformed people in Texas. Well-known patriot groups, patriot members, bloggers, and media have been actively circulating incomplete and wrong information to suit their political preferences. How dare any of us exploit the everyday working Texans? What happened to accurate reporting for all the right reasons? It is egregious for people to use social media outlets to misguide the people. How is it the informed people speaking to the masses don’t know the Texas constitution or the procedures for a bill to pass the legislature? How is it they do not know who has the power in Texas during legislative sessions? How is it they don’t know exactly what happened to a bill, yet they continue to circulate inaccurate information to the masses?
In a legislative session, the Lt. Governor of Texas has the most power, closely followed by the Speaker of the House. The Governor may make suggestions on what is slated as an emergency item for the legislature. He has zero power to force the Speaker of the House or the Lt. Governor on the how and when they take actions. If a person studied the legislature this year, a pattern would emerge.
When Straus and Dewhurst named committee chairs and worked with them to determine the members, these actions determined ownership of the power. There were a handful of people controlling the personal agenda for Straus and Dewhurst. It had nothing to do with the people of Texas.
In May, Straus and Dewhurst openly defied the Governor with their choice on the formation of the committee to look at Higher Education. The Governor had focused on Higher Education reform for quite a while. He mentioned some of his ideas in speeches to the public and the legislature. Take a look at the press release and the names of people who have been appointed to the group. None of the conservative legislators heavily involved in reform ideas were included. The people on the list are the ones who will support the status quo in higher education. Why do you believe the Governor has the power to dictate actions to the Speaker and Lt. Governor? Where is the basis of those “facts”?
Yes, we got some good bills out. Those bills did not interfere with the agenda at hand (of Speaker Straus or Lt. Gov. Dewhurst), and distracted the public while other things were being discussed in the legislature. What was the agenda? If one looks at the overall number of bills and content, it appears to be a power play that will be completed in 2012 and 2013. Redistricting maps ensured the strongest conservatives in the state, who are against gambling will likely lose their seat. Deals were made to get a lot of people in a position to agree with these measures. Undue amounts of money were spent in the budget, regardless of the enormous bills facing Texas in 2013. Special interest groups ruled. This weakened Texas, but guaranteed the number of votes needed to pass legislation wanted by Straus and Dewhurst. Some might say this is politics. It is the selling out of Texas.
Specific actions by people in the press, placed the blame for this year’s debacle at the Governor’s door. Of course, the liberal press is counting on no one in Texas knowing how the legislature works! Liberals have wanted to topple Texas conservatives for a very long time. Has anyone stopped to ask who that would benefit and why?
The politic gameplaying this season, was a textbook study in deception, blocks, and innuendo to achieve goals of the people in charge. Over the next few months, I will publish specific examples proving the allegations made in this article. In fact, go look for the facts yourself. You will be surprised at the amount of public data that can be found on this session, fully supporting these points.
What will happen in 2013, when we do not have the money to pay the bills? Would it be a state income tax that is suggested as a solution, or will it be gambling? Formula One Racing was passed this session. It has already been approved by the City of Austin. This will be a large complex, that is surrounded by more open land for more vendors and projects. Think about this. Even if you are not against gambling, statistics show the crime rate will rise 3 to 1. Can we afford more of a crime issue, given the open border and immigration problems? People from dozens of terrorist countries come and use the Mexican border as the gateway to America. Currently there is a war on crime in our state, do we need more?
Seven people controlled the legislative agenda for the most part. Without these gatekeepers, good legislation would have gone to the floor in a timely manner, and been passed. There were choices on what went to the floor. On the House side, the most powerful gatekeepers appointed by Straus were Jim Pitts (Appropriations), Burt Solomans (Redistricting), and Todd Hunter (Calendars). None of the key legislation could get to the floor without touching one of these chairmen. On the Dewhurst side of the house, we had Ken Seliger (Redistricting), and Steve Ogden (Finance). By looking at the impact of those chairs, and the people on those committees, you will see the whole picture.
A closing comment to patriot groups. The majority of the groups are thoughtful people, trying to get to the truth, so it may be shared with others. What is the purpose of this article? It is time to warn people they need to be careful when getting information from so-called leaders. Whether it is me, or someone else in the patriot world, it is time to question everything. A multitude of people with conflicting agendas have infiltrated these groups. They want third parties. They want a bit of the spotlight.
Thank you to the groups who continue to strive for the truth, when educating the masses. It isn’t important who gets the recognition with the masses or the media. It is important we get it right, and remove the people from office that sold us out. As for the misguided people spreading vicious gossip without substance, more credibility would be gained by telling the truth. Think about it.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 20 so far )
The ISD’s throughout Texas and across the country have worked hard to grow their empires. Sources of Education funding ( State, Federal, and local funding) comes to the ISD administration. The small committee of people are tasked with the creation and management of budgets for the respective district. What has occurred through the years is the administration has grown, along with the budget required by the ISD. One could argue there are so many students representing a diverse population both economically and cultually, it is a direct impact on the needs of the community. This point of view is not standing up to scrutiny in the majority of the ISD’s in Texas nor in other states.
We have gone toward an education system where people from prestigious colleges and posessing high visibility in community organizations rule. These people determine how taxpayer dollars will be used in the district. I am not disparaging their qualifications, only to say that the qualifications do not inherently mean they have common sense nor the experience required for a job managing millions of dollars and thousands of students. People in those school districts pay exorbitant amounts of money in school taxes. There is a duty to provide good stewardship of funds and programs to the entire community.
Money does not guarantee a person will excel beyond their wildest dreams. There have been a lot of studies that show when students have it too easy, they don’t necessarily become good citizens. These people continue to expect everyone in society to contribute to their quality of life. A good case in point, is the highly educated people of privilege who brought down Enron. The people making the trade decisions and influencing poor accounting policies were from elite households and had the finest educations. One might also point out without relevant experience, people easily get into trouble on big projects. A good example of the result of lack of experience is the President of the United States.
What are the ISD’s doing to build character within the school community? Is it building character to squander money in the ISD? Are we teaching the children all things are possible with other people’s money? There is no way anyone can convince me that schools should cost in the tens of millions of dollars and be “architectural gem” to provide good educations. Are you getting bids? Are you making smart choices on bond money?
Sadly, the school administrations are not doing a good job. I would suggest the school boards need to be made up of people with varying backgrounds and expertise to counter balance each other and provide well-rounded solutions based on a total approach. There should be a person who truly understands budgets and school financing, a teacher who understands political trickery at schoolboard level, a person who is able to see both sides of an issue and bring good solutions to the table, a person who has experience in IT inclusive of emerging technologies, a person well-versed in state textbook curriculem, a person who possesses knowledge of buildings and structure, and a leader who can facilitate.
The school superintendent should look over the management of teachers and receive the guidance from the School Board. This should be his only job. Simple is better for all concerned, rather than a manifestation of grandiose ideas at the expense of everyone in the community.
Looking into the expenditures of the various school systems in our state, has been eye opening, frustrating, and points to something that has evolved over years of the community not paying attention. The evolution of a corrupt, power hungry, expensive school system in Texas did not happen over night. It will take several cycles to strip away the problems, beginning with school board replacements at local and state level.
What can we do? Please send messages on facebook, email, and twitter to remind everyone of the importance of voting. If you have data on the local candidates, share it! The quality or lack thereof in the education system will directly impact future leaders in our country. It is up to the communities to change current school system challenges.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 4 so far )
This week, Katy Texas was the scene of unprecedented power plays by the School Superintendent. Texas has a budget shortfall due to many contributing factors, but primarily from unfunded Federal mandates. Mr. Frailey, Katy ISD Superintendent, decided to leverage teachers against the legislature for his own purposes. For the past couple of days, he authorized the immediate firing of dozens of teachers due to the shortfall. Here is a few links to the local news media that had several stories on the events: http://instantnewskaty.com/ , http://katytimes.com/news/article_c3a35ab6-66c6-11e0-9b79-001cc4c002e0.html
The official story is an administrator would call the teacher out of the classroom to inform them. They would also inform them of all “their options” and then the teacher could either return to the classroom or go home. Several teachers were too devastated and tearful to continue working, and the school already had substitute teachers waiting to help.
Students were upset and staged protests at several schools. Tomorrow in Katy, there are a minimum of 7 staged school protests that have been planned. There is also a major protest rally at 11:30 in front of the school administration building. Parents are upset, students were disrupted and upset, teachers were traumatized, and for what?
Tonight at a town hall in Katy, the teachers, students, and community gathered to try and make sense out of this week’s dramatic actions by the administration. Tearful teachers spoke about the event, and wondered what can be done. Everyone was looking for answers. The community united and determined it will remedy this situation. People will gather tomorrow at 11:30 in front of the administration building in Katy. They are demanding answers and deserve them on so many levels.
Why is this so ridiculous? The Texas House passed a budget which cut education, and other departments across the board. It has not passed the Senate. The Senate is introducing their own bill with fewer budget cuts. It is likely to pass. At that point, the Senate and House bill will go to conference. In this process, 5 members of the House and 5 members from the Senate will compromise on a final bill. The budget battle is far from over, and the Superintendent begins firing teachers and blaming the legislature. This begs the question of why this Chief Administrator of Education for Katy ISD would arbitrarily elect to fire large numbers of teachers before the budget is settled.
What is the truth of the matter? Local ISD’s have built up mini empires of administration. In Texas, there is a one to one ratio of non teaching individuals to teachers. The Superintendents command enormous salaries and perks for themselves and an abundance of non-teaching personnel. Specific ISD information was published recently on a website sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, Texas Chapter. For the highlights of statistics onState Education Spending: http://www.americansforprosperity.org/021511-grassroots-resource-talking-points-education-spending-texas Americans for Prosperity took it one step further and have invested the time and resources to make ISD information readily accessible to the public. It is called the Red Apple Project. You can access all the financial details here: http://www.redappleproject.com/ Katy ISD, in particular only spends 49.7% of each dollar on the classroom. The Administration makes a lot more money than the teachers. Add this to the fact, that over 80M is sitting in a bank account in the district, and you see just how ludicrous the actions were of this administrator. There is zero requirement for 80M to be in the reserve funds of the ISD. Yet, he still wanted to make political points.
To add insult to injury, Mr. Frailey sent out a letter to the students with his spin on why he had to take the actions this week. You can read his letter here: http://instantnewskaty.com/2011/04/14/20699
I urge all parents and teachers to investigate the money being spent in this ISD and the decisions made by the Superintendent. Students deserve quality teachers that are paid appropriately. Bureaucratic overhead is destroying the budget. Good solutions to the budget dilemma can be had without firing teachers. Perhaps the Superintendent didn’t do his homework?Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )
Wrong information on the education situation in Texas and in America is being circulated by leftists who continue the exercise of attempting to divide conservatives. This week the focus is on clarification of misinformation circulating about education and teaching professionals. Americans for Prosperity sponsored a teleconference featuring Senator Florence Shapiro. Senator Shapiro was a former educator and small business woman who truly understands budget challenges facing Texans. Currently the Senator is chairman for the Education Committee in Texas. Her ability to paint the picture for listeners was useful, and showed a great depth of caring for children and the education system. The Education budget will necessarily need to make cuts, just as many other state government departments will need to do in this biennium. What does this mean to children, teachers, and everyone concerned about quality education in Texas?
- Many people have received fliers in their children’s weekly take home information, stating Texas wants to cut teachers and are going to hurt the children. This simply is not true.
Fact: The education budget is bloated and necessary cuts will need to be made, just as all the other departments in the Texas budget are facing cuts. The budget cuts for education will be left up to the local School Districts as to how it is handled.
- What is causing the “bloat” in the education budget? We know the teachers must supply schoolroom materials from their own money in a lot of cases.
Fact: The current ratio of non-teachers in the education systems in Texas is 1 to 1. This means for every teacher there is another person! Why? The non-teachers on the education payroll account for billions of dollars in salaries and benefits. In a recent call with Governor Rick Perry, it was pointed out that the non-teaching staff in Texas has grown 300%! This is the same kind of outrageous growth across the country.
- The teachers deserve more money. This isn’t fair.
Fact: The state will have to make significant decreases to the overall Texas general budget at all levels. No one is mandating teachers be taking pay cuts or be let go. The decisions are being left up to the local ISD as to where they cut the budget. Studies have shown there are many duplicate efforts that should be eliminated, “perks” that should never have happened, and services that can be shared among multiple ISD administrations. All Texas citizens will need to share in the sacrifices being made due to the strain of the unfunded mandates. Budgets can be cut, without cutting teachers.
- Why are the teacher unions protesting in other states, if teachers are not being hurt? It looks like the government is out to “get” the teachers!
Fact: When the union negotiates with the government for pensions and raises, it is the taxpayer that must pay for additional benefits and monies. A good example is the state of California. Example: There are currently over 9,800 people who retired from a public job and are receiving over 6 figures for the rest of their lives. These people did not contribute anything to the pensions and many are under the age of 50. Economic hard times prevail currently in the country, and the pensions and spending levels are unsustainable.
Closer to home in Texas, data is offered on the Local ISD. Please take the time to read the charts. There are dozens of bureaucratic positions that make no sense, look redundant in functionality, and also…….they are not teachers in the classroom!
Go to this website, to gather the data on your local ISD and hold them accountable: http://www.redappleproject.com/
Want to know what cuts are being made in education and other departments? Look at the following legislature passed this week in the Texas State Senate on budget: http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/Text.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB4
The quarrel is not with the teachers. In fact, the teachers should be up in arms over the money being wasted by the bureaucrats in the ISD. The money stops at local administration level, and does not reach the classroom. Less than half of each dollar intended for education, actually reaches the classrooms.
What is the answer? The state is leaving the power and decision on how to change the system at local level. This plan on budget cuts and how to achieve them is sponsored by the state legislature. These are bi-partisan members that came up with the plan. The children deserve benefits afforded by a system focused on education. Instead, the children and the teachers are currently getting the crumbs left over by the ISD bureaucracy. It is not the Governor, nor the legislature causing the problem for the local schools. It is time for the parents, grandparents, and taxpayers in general to stand up and say ENOUGH!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )
There have been a lot of wakeup calls during the past few years in America. In Texas, we have learned there are major problems in our education. There are people in the ISD’s who are given a $61,000 King Ranch truck to drive for their purposes. In other ISD’s manicures were paid for by the taxpayer. What is wrong? What are we doing?
We have a bloated education budget for the state that has not improved our overall education system. What has occurred is a lot of administration has been added at local level with large salaries and amazing perks. This has done nothing for the actual education of the children. It has lined the pockets of many greedy, self-centered individuals. Looking at elimination of bloat, and innovative new ideas for our schools, there is no reason to cut any teacher’s jobs. This would result in an efficient school system that directly benefits the children.
This is a short, to the point blog. The intent is to share a few sources for everyone to get involved in the transformation of their ISD and in the state education system.
Actions to take and resources to utilize:
1. Find qualified new people to run for local school boards and the state school board.
2. Attend all school board meetings.
3. Look at the school budget to see what is going on in the district.
The following resources are for education/assistance/ideas in resolving the bloating education budget in Texas:
1. The Red Apple Project has gone live with a brandnew website that focuses on ideas/information for education reform. It is sponsored by the Texas Chapter of Americans for Prosperity. It is an amazing resource. I’ve spent the last hour on the site, and realize this is a first for our state. Kudos to Americans for Prosperity. Ck it out to learn more about your school ISD: http://www.americansforprosperity.org/021511-grassroots-resource-talking-points-education-spending-texas
2. The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a thinktank in Texas that focuses on research that helps to further best practices in Texas state policies. http://www.texaspolicy.com/publications.php?cat_level=1
3. Governor Rick Perry gave his state of the state speech in January. His speech gave many new ideas for efficient, high quality education without the current high costs. http://www.rickperry.org/issues/education
Citizens of Texas who care about the future of education and the future of Texas have a multitude of resources to get involved, and help with the transformation of education for Texans. Time to roll up our sleeves, and get to it!
It is an object of vast magnitude that systems of education should be adopted and pursued which may not only diffuse a knowledge of the sciences but may implant in the minds of the American youth the principles of virtue and of liberty and inspire them with just and liberal ideas of government and with an inviolable attachment to their own country.