It appears a majority of Texans continue to demand less government. Unfortunately, it also appears that our state Legislature and our statewide elected leadership agrees. I’m not sure the average Texan, however, requested less government in some of the areas we now enjoy. We have less higher education at a reasonable cost, less funding for public education, less preparation of our young people to be ready for college, less health care, even less safety on our public roadways, and, on the national level, less chance of exporting more goods manufactured in the United States.
Our leadership has turned down several billion dollars of available grants from our federal government. As a result, Texas continues to lead the nation in medically uninsured children. This is accompanied by some of the nation’s largest numbers of children afflicted with childhood diseases and with one of the highest death rates for Texans experiencing serious injuries in the workplace. I doubt seriously if parents of children with disabilities needing intensive therapy are pleased with the recent reduction in funding depriving many of these children of the much needed therapy in order to function in society. Apparently, they simply must console themselves watching their children suffer by saying, “Well at least our leaders have shrunk government in this particular area.”
We continue to shrink the state’s responsibility for education of our children via the public education system. This is so even though the founders of Texas — our brave forefathers who carved a nation from a territory and a state from a nation — had the foresight to provide in our constitution that the Legislature must provide an efficient, free system of public education. The recent leadership in Austin has continued to sacrifice adequate funding for public education on the altar of shrinking government and no new taxes. In today’s political world, I hear few, if any, of our elected members of the Legislature boasting about how great Texas is doing with its public education system.
A recent study of ACT, a national group that rates education progress in the various states, has estimated that only 27% of our high school graduates in Texas are prepared and able to pass the basics of English, Math and Science at the college level. Even worse, the college board, which administers the SAT — a standard measurement of readiness for college — estimates two-thirds of our high school graduates are not ready to meet the challenges of college. What this means in plain and simple terms is that Texas will continue on its current path — which is not unlike a third-world nation — with little regulation. This pleases folks like the Koch brothers and leadership in the industrial world who want to continue to provide low-paying, low-tech, low-quality jobs.
In my humble opinion, much of this is caused by the misplaced faith of too many Texas voters who simply believe we can produce quality education on the cheap — that fewer taxes will produce more jobs and a thriving economy. And then the money saved is wasted on paranoia that we are being invaded by aliens from south of the border stealing all of our good jobs. Just imagine the improvements in education which could have been accomplished if we had used the almost $1 billion dollars for education instead of spending it on our national guard and highway patrolmen going to the border to stem the flow of illegal aliens — neither of which even has the authority to arrest illegal aliens. Sadly, the more it is examined, the more obvious it becomes that the motive and the waste of this money was done purely to make certain politicians look good in the eyes of uninformed voters with misplaced agendas.