Getting played by the establishment is like getting sold a car you didn't need. Most of the time you either didn't notice the play or you actually enjoyed it. That doesn't change the fact that the salesman played you out of your money.
The education hustle is on in the Texas ruling class. Really, it's the same play they used during the session to try to break Texans will to hold the line on taxes and spending, and to create will to expand gambling.
Here are the basics of the ruling class education hustle:
Texas House leadership, establishment consultants, , lackey candidates, capitol media
Conservative Texas voters, the biggest voting block and the key to getting anything done in Texas.
Convince the Mark that Texas education has massive funding issues, keep the Mark from asking if there are systemic reforms that would alleviate the "funding problems" (try to accomplish this without having to explicitly mention it), and convince the Mark that conservatives don't care about teachers.
If the scam is successful enough it can be used to push for expanded gambling, which Texans have already been scammed into thinking increases revenues when it actually decreases them.
Here are the lies involved in the education hustle:
- Texas education is underfunded
Adjusted for inflation and population growth, Texas K-12 education funding has more than doubled since 1990.
- Texas education funding was cut in the 82nd legislature
More money than ever before was spent on K-12 education at the 82nd legislature. The "cuts" that the scammers incessantly refer to aren't really cuts. "Big K-12" has a sense of entitlement that rivals the size of our large state, and has come to expect lavish funding growth every session. What was actually reduced was the growth. The budget is bigger than it has ever been. There were no cuts.
- (Implied) There are no systemic fixes
Schools exist to teach kids. "Big K-12" thinks schools exist to employ adults. In the early 1970s the non-teacher to teacher ratio in public schools was 6:1. Now it is 1:1. Taxpayers pay for an army of non-teachers that were unnecessary in 1970 and are unnecessary today. However, teacher association dues go up every time any employee is hired by public schools. Lavish funding growth works out great for them.
In addition, there is no such thing as efficiency without competition. Until there is public school choice, principals will keep are performing for Austin politicians, who perform for their donors - like teacher associations. When parents finally get to choose their child's public school in Texas, Texans will be treated to Principals catering to parents. It will feel strange and wonderful.
- Gambling can help ease the funding pressure
This part of the scam doesn't make its debut until the next session is underway and the establishment has worked Texans into a lather with their ginned-up funding crisis. Our Speaker of the House is from an old Texas gambling family. The only way to expand gambling in Texas is by amending the Texas Constitution. As a result, expanding the family business and "public service" are one and the same for him.
In truth, gambling lowers revenues. While it does create new revenue streams (called ‘casinos’ and ‘racinos’, racino=racetrack+slot machines), it broadly lowers productivity so that existing revenue sources perform worse than before. Also, law enforcement and social service costs skyrocket. In the end, three dollars are lost or spent for every one dollar of revenue that gambling creates.
Dr. Earl Grinols, an economics professor at Baylor, is one of our country's leading experts on the effects of gambling. He's written a book detailing his extensive research and valuable, careful conclusions, and he's spoken in front of more than 20 state legislatures around the nation.
Gambling doesn't solve state funding crises. Gambling creates state funding crises.
- Our conservative legislators don't care about teachers
In truth, it was Texas conservative legislators and activists who spent all session trying to bring to light the gross overpopulation of nonteachers in public schools. Conservatives want good teachers to realize that they are providing a living for Association and union people, nonteachers, and bad teachers, whom associations protect by pretending they are good teachers. Conservatives want good teachers to get big raises, funded by getting rid of the considerable bloat in public education.
Any Republican running a primary on "the kids need more funding!" is participating in the establishment education hustle. Check their consultants - dollars to donuts, they are Murphy Turner or Brian Epstein, establishment consultants extraordinaire.
This morning the Texas Tribune ran a story entitled, "Some Texas GOP Candidates To Make Education A Priority". Read the story if you want to know what the car salesman sounds like.
-- Texas Tribune story on GOP candidates and education funding