What Every Texas Teacher Should Know About Politicians: Lesson #7 – Politicians Do Not Know How To Fix Schools

What Every TX Educator Should Know About Politicians .jpgGreat teachers make great classrooms.

Great principals and great teachers make great schools.

Great superintendents, great principals, and great teachers make great school districts.

Lesson #7 – Politicians do not know how to fix schools. How long have they been at it in Texas? Let’s be generous and say their efforts date back to 1984 with the passage of HB 72. That’s over 30 years … and they’re still at it.

The proof is in the pudding. Politicians don’t know how to fix schools.

Noting politicians do and say can change reality. Again,

  • great teachers make great classrooms;
  • great principals and great teachers make great schools; and
  • great superintendents, great principals, and great teachers make great districts.

Politicians may not know how to fix our schools, but they could do the most basic of things: support their rhetoric and resources our great teachers and staff.

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This is the final blog in this series.

 

 

 

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What Every Texas Teacher Should Know About Politicians: Lesson #6 – The Allure Of The Out-Of-Power Politician

What Every TX Educator Should Know About Politicians .jpgIt is one thing to promise, it’s another thing to deliver.

The out-of-power politician can promise much, but he/she has no accountability, just rhetoric and symbolic votes.

But rhetoric and symbolic votes can be hypnotic.

A great, present-day example is at the federal level. The Republicans, when they knew that their legislative efforts had no chance of becoming law, unanimously voted several times to repeal Obamacare.

The rhetoric and symbolic votes were powerful, but now that Republicans are in power … nothing.

So, let’s look at Texas teacher salaries when Texas Democrats were firmly in control and more recent with Republicans in control of the state’s political agenda.

In the 60th Texas Legislature (1967), the Senate had 29 Democrats and 2 Republicans. The House consisted of 143 Democrats and 7 Republicans. The governor was a Democrat. Average teacher annual salary in 1969-70 for Texas teachers was, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, was $7,255. The United States average was $8,626.

In 1969-70, the average annual salary for Texas teachers was below the national average.

In 2015-16, with a Republican governor and Republican majorities in the House and Senate, the average annual salary for Texas teachers was $51,758. The national average was $58,064.

In 2015-16, the average annual salary for Texas teachers was below the national average.

I don’t want to make too little of the differences between the major political parties in Texas, however, the allure of the out-of-power politician – Republican or Democrat – may be not all it seems act least for Texas teachers.

 

 

 

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Bugs in Texas

Assasin Bug (II).jpg

Assassin bug in a North Texas flower garden (July 17, 2017).

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Beauty In This World: July 4, 2017

The Whole Sky (III) Fair Paark, TX July 4, 2017.jpg

With the Top O’ Texas Tower to the left, fireworks fill the sky over Fair Park, Dallas, TX July 4, 2017.

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What Every Texas Teacher Should Know About Politicians: Lesson #5 – Every Political Decision Has Benefactors

What Every TX Educator Should Know About Politicians .jpgLesson #5 – Every Political Decision Has Benefactors.

The first-and-always benefactor is the politician. A politician will not take a stand that does not benefit him- or herself.

Notice the plural: benefactors.

Someone or some group(s) will benefit, too, and if it is not you or your group, it’s because the person or group(s) that benefit represents to the politician more votes, more money, and/or career advancement.

Teachers: Don’t think “Right, Best, Good, or What’s Best For Students” if a politician’s decision does not go your way. It won’t help; it will only frustrate. Instead, it helps to know that, in all likelihood, you do not represent to the politician more votes, more money, and/or career advancement.

That may not seem right or fair – terms educators live and practice everyday in the classroom – but those two words will only make it all the more difficult to understand politicians.

 

 

 

 

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What Every Texas Teacher Should Know About Politicians: Lesson #4 – Government Is A Win-Lose Institution

What Every TX Educator Should Know About Politicians .jpgReality check. At the state level, there is only a limited amount of money for a seemingly unlimited number of needs and/or wants.

There is never enough money and federal level is the perfect example: The feds can collect more taxes than ever before, print money, spend trillions, go wildly in debt, and there still is not enough money for everybody – people, politicians, groups, and institutions want more.

Enter Lesson #4 – Government Is A Win/Lose Institution.

In Texas, if our state-level political leaders give one group more money, it means that all other groups do not get that money – it’s a win/lose proposition.

This is a forever truth: In allocating funds, some one(s) or some group(s) win, and because of the aforementioned victory some one(s) or some group(s) lose.

This is a forever truth, too: Because funds are limited and needs are unlimited, the probability that you or your group are funding losers is great.

And the winners are happy – until the next budget cycle – and the losers are disappointed, sad, hurt, and/or angry.

 

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What Every Texas Teacher Should Know About Politicians: Lesson #3: National Aspirations

What Every TX Educator Should Know About Politicians .jpgThere is nothing inherently wrong with a Texas state-level politician aspiring to a federal elected office or appointment.

However, there is a price to pay.

If a Texas state-level politician (Republican or Democrat) wants to enter politics at the federal level, the two national political parties expect allegiance to their explicit and implicit ideologies – unfortunately for Texans those ideologies can be at odds with Texas values.

For example, the Republican National Party in its National Platform 2016 [Note: Texas Republicans control the State’s political agenda and that’s why a Republican example is ¬†used] touts merit pay for good teachers – a failed idea that is bad for Texas.

However, for a Texas Republican to enter “the club” at the national level, he/she needs to support merit pay, and even better the politician would need to play a significant role in its implementation in his/her state while walking a practical tight rope: implemented long enough to join the club, but not long enough to see it fail.

So, the next time a Texas state-level politician supports something that doesn’t fit Texas read his/her party’s national platform and consider Lesson #3: National Aspirations.

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