Category Archives: Dan Patrick

Abbott, Patrick trying to hide their true, anti-education colors

 

As I hope most of you have figured out by now, neither Gov. Greg Abbott nor Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has any intention of raising teacher pay or retiree benefits during the special legislative session because neither is proposing any increase in education funding. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

Abbott and Patrick have three education-related goals this session, which may prove to be one of the meanest gatherings of the Texas Legislature in recent memory. All three are bad news, and none has anything to do with teacher pay.

First, they want to ridicule and bully transgender students and educators with the discriminatory, divisive and unnecessary bathroom bill. Second, they want to peddle the voucher scam again. And, finally, they will try once more to weaken the political influence of teachers over education policy with a dues deduction bill to thwart the right of educators to spend their modest paychecks – their own money — the way they see fit.

The governor and the lieutenant governor concocted their eleventh-hour “pay raise” schemes for a reason. They are trying to cover their bankrupt public education records on the eve of reelection campaigns in which both will be trying again to fool parents and educators into thinking they actually give a rat’s tail about public schools or the people who work in them.

There are genuine teacher pay raise proposals on the horizon, proposals that actually would use state funds to boost teacher pay. Some legislators believe the state should tap into the Rainy Day Fund to pay for it.

The Rainy Day money is there, more than $10 billion, according to the state comptroller. That’s enough to cover a teacher pay raise, health care improvements and other critical public needs that Abbott and Patrick have persisted in ignoring.

The Rainy Day Fund is a state savings account that was intended to meet emergencies, and school finance, including teacher pay, is a growing emergency. But Abbott and Patrick want to keep your tax money bottled up to use as ideological bragging rights with voters who want to shrink government and privatize education.

Speaker Joe Straus recognizes the importance of increasing public education funding. Straus also opposes the bathroom bill and already is under attack from the Abbott and Patrick camps.

Getting a teacher pay raise or any additional education funding out of this special session will be difficult. If it happens, the push will come from Straus and the House, not from Abbott and Patrick.

 

 

 

Trying to flush school districts down the toilet

 

Graydon Hicks, the superintendent of the small Fort Davis ISD in far West Texas recently wrote an open letter, lambasting Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick over the legislative majority’s continuing failure to adequately fund public education.

He detailed how the state’s top two “leaders,” while playing politics with school bathrooms and privatization, are threatening to flush endangered school districts, such as Fort Davis, down the toilet.

In his letter published on the Big Bend Now website, Hicks wrote: “Fort Davis ISD has 235 children, has NO cafeteria, has NO bus routes, has dropped our band program, has eliminated (or not filled) 15 staff positions, has CUT stipends for extra-curricular activities, has FROZEN (or reduced) staff pay for one year, has CUT extra-curricular programs, has NO debt and has increased our local tax rate to the maximum of $1.17 (per $100 valuation) allowed by law.”

“We have nothing left to cut. We have nothing left to reduce,” he added.

Meanwhile, in Austin, Abbott and Patrick continue to stick their noses into kids’ bathrooms, continue to promote the wasting of tax dollars on private school vouchers and are seeking an unnecessary, umpteenth study of school finance instead of tackling the funding issue head-on.

“Quit pontificating about bathrooms,” Hicks wrote. “Quit hiding your intentions behind righteous statements on school vouchers and choice.”

The superintendent then challenged the governor and the lieutenant governor to “come out to our community and face the wrath of our taxpayers and voters….Come explain yourself to our parents and children.”

That’s a nice idea, but it won’t happen because Abbott and Patrick have every reason to think they can continue to take the votes of most Fort Davis voters for granted. And why shouldn’t they?

Abbott took 60 percent of the vote in Jeff Davis County, where Fort Davis ISD is located, in winning the governor’s office in 2014, and Patrick took almost 57 percent. Both defeated Democratic opponents who had far superior records on public education issues. The two handily won majorities not only in Fort Davis but also in many other school districts throughout Texas that now also are being squeezed by Abbott’s and Patrick’s policies.

Elections have consequences for school districts, superintendents and students, and those consequences will be changed only when election outcomes are changed. Abbott and Patrick will be on the ballot again next year. What will the parents, educators and other voters in Fort Davis and other school districts do then?

http://bigbendnow.com/2017/06/correspondence-271/

 

 

Texas needs more than a blessing

 

The late Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock, who died in 1999 soon after retiring from public office, had a reputation for being more rowdy than religious, but he cared deeply about the people – all the people – in our state. He worked to improve critical services, including education and health care, and strengthen Texas’ future.

When Bullock ended speeches or letters with his signature “God Bless Texas,” you knew he was playing to Lone Star chauvinism, but you also suspected he meant what he said.

The current lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick, also has taken to using the “God Bless Texas” line, but his use of it seems about as phony as his professed interest in school children, anyone in need of help or anything that would prepare Texas for real prosperity in the 21st century.

Bullock had a lot of flaws, but he was a leader. Patrick is a charlatan who has hijacked Bullock’s signature and continues to try to hijack Texas’ future by neglecting the state’s real needs in favor of phony, discriminatory issues that pander to fear and ignorance. We soon will see more of that in the upcoming special legislative session.

With Patrick and a governor who is afraid of him holding the state’s top two offices, our state needs a new motto:

God Help Texas.

Please!

 

 

His sanctimony aside, Dan Patrick is to blame for school finance failure

 

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick waxed sanctimonious after the final defeat of the House’s effort to improve school funding but don’t be misled by his demagoguery. The blame for the school finance failure rests squarely with Patrick.

Speaker Joe Straus and the House majority tried to enact legislation to improve state funding for public schools and take an important first step toward real school finance reform. But Patrick was all about snooping in school bathrooms and trying to force the House into wasting tax dollars on private school vouchers, even after it was clear that a bipartisan House majority was adamantly opposed to vouchers. At the eleventh hour, Patrick had the Senate majority remove funding from the House’s version of HB21, the school finance bill, and attach a special education voucher instead. Then he blamed the House for killing school finance when House members called his bluff.

“I simply did not believe they (the House) would vote against both disabled children and a substantial funding increase for public schools,” he said. Hogwash.

Patrick’s “funding increase” claim was actually a billion dollar cut from the $1.6 billion the House had proposed. And his special education voucher amendment would have been useless for most special education kids because private schools don’t have to provide special education services and those that do are exempt from federal standards designed to make sure the services provided are appropriate.

The House actually had tried to improve funding for disabled kids and all other students by approving additional funding for public schools, but Patrick and the Senate majority killed that effort. That means public schools, including special education classrooms, will remain under-funded, and the burden on local school property taxpayers will continue to increase.

Whenever Dan Patrick opens his mouth about public education and property tax “relief,” he has absolutely no credibility. And the school children of Texas – all the school children of Texas – will be better off if their parents quit believing him.

 

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