The buzz words in education are rigor, depth, academic progress and teacher performance pay, however, none of those things can be accomplished when we cut funding by $9.3 billion, in education budgets across Texas. Think about the situation this way: would you be able to afford 5 star meals every night, when you bring in minimum wage each day? Can car manufacturers ask for a car to be built with the highest safety rating, and then request that we use the cheapest materials? The idea that education can produce at high levels when we take most of the funding from it, is ridiculous.
However, the looming budget cuts are a reality for Texas. According to Smith, a columnist for the Texas Tribune, Senators are asking for the Texas Education Agency to conduct survey research and discover how districts are spending their money. Senators want to know if districts are employing too many additional personnel- including teachers- and where money can be saved. Currently, budget cuts are proposed for some of the most widely needed programs. Those programs include what April Castro for the Associated Press believes, are the necessary backbone of Texas’ educational foundation. Specifically, the Arts, pre kindergarten and Head Start programs and teacher incentive pay look to fall under the axe first. Basically, the Texas legislature is assuming that these programs are unnecessary. I am saying, WAKE UP! Pre- Kindergarten and Head Start programs build pathways into education that Kindergarten through 12th grade uses to ensure success for students. And, if Texas residents believe that cutting Pre- K and Head Start will be the end of potential cuts, I would caution you to reconsider that notion. After all, Kindergarten is not a required grade level according to Texas, what is stopping the legislature from cutting it too? Likewise, teacher incentive pay will be crucial for educational success with so little supports occurring each year. Further, The Arts have already been diminished so much in education. There will be nothing left after new budget cuts. Children need to be well- rounded. The arts’ provides them this circular structure.
What’s worst, the Texas legislature has approved measures to expand classroom sizes and change teacher to student ratios from 22 to 1 to 27 to 1. I don’t know about anyone else, but those numbers are scary to me. Imagine a general education classroom- which typically includes Special Education and English as a Second Language students- filled with 27 students and one educator. How effective will that educator be when many of his or her students require one to one instruction? The children of Texas deserve more.
Recently, the Dallas Morning News and the Texas Tribune reported that Texas has seen unprecedented increases in their population. The leading group of new Texas residents is school- aged, Hispanic children. Couple this information with the current needs and progress that has been made in closing the education gap in Texas, education is NOT the place to make overarching cuts in the budget. If Texas would like a substantial future, leave the money given to nurturing and developing the minds of our children alone. If closing the achievement gap and producing rigor and excellence in performance are important factors for law makers in Texas, leave the money with the education system. These are my kids, your kids, our kids, and they deserve more.