Many of us watched as the Midland, Texas, Independent School District Superintendent stumped for a mind boggling $163 million bond for building new schools last year and wondered if voters would allow the local government debt burden -- the legacy to be passed on to those youngsters now in school -- to increase to an even higher level than it already was. Texas Comptroller Susan Combs issued a report to remind Texans about the huge local government debt loads burdening Texans. See Your Money and Local Debt-PDF. But that didn't stop voters. The bond passed, and the press heaped accolades on the superintendent for this increase of the debt burden as if kids can't get a decent education in an old building.
But there's a nagging little problem lurking in the weeds like a truant child hiding from the teachers. The students may not be learning. The headline STAAR scores for Midland ISD below state average drove home to us that all our children are below average.
After the last two presidential elections many of were left wondering what kind of education the kids were getting that caused 60% of voters under 30 to support a president who wants to increase government dependency, discourage individual initiative, and stifle dissent.
They must be picking it up in government schools.
A couple of years ago a state teachers association rep was quoted in the morning paper as opposing legislation that would switch their retirement program into a 401K type program, the kind that most everyone in the free market has. And the rep was attempting to educate teachers about how difficult it would be for them to personally deal with a 401K retirement plan.
Teachers comprise a big voting block, and the reason they wanted to keep it in the government is because they can easily convince legislators to give them a larger share of tax payers' money should their pension fund's investments lose value.
However, the reason given to teachers, at least publicly, was that it would too difficult for the individual teachers to handle their own retirement funds. Though not actually said, the message seemed to be that teachers weren't as smart as their counterparts outside the government when it comes to money. I would like to think that's wrong and that our teachers are the best and brightest, after all, my mom was one. But there is that nagging fact of the underachieving test scores.
Meanwhile, the economy in the Permian Basin cycles between boom and bust, and we're currently still in the boom part of one of those cycles. Builders go crazy during boom times, and they pay the piper during the bust times. And now the school superintendent wants to get into the business of government housing. What could possibly go wrong with that?