RE: Debate whoppers (gettin' down on Bushucation)

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From: Damien Morton (
Date: Mon Oct 09 2000 - 08:13:29 PDT

Perhaps Im being a little anal about this, but could I ask that people
posting email attacking/supporting/analysing or otherwise discussing US
election issues and/or candidates please mark their emails with the word
'[election]' in the subject line.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Wayne E Baisley []
> Sent: Monday, October 09, 2000 11:14 AM
> To: Geege; FoRK List
> Subject: Re: Debate whoppers (gettin' down on Bushucation)
> Things are not so rosy en las escuelas de Tejas, as Geege, right as
> usual, has pointed out. Details follow.
> But first, a bit of FoRK interconnectedness. One of the key
> Texas State
> Legislators for education is Scott Hochberg. He was named one of the
> top 10 TSLs by
> Texas Monthly last year. Scott and I were roommates at Rice.
> Scott was also the Program Director for the campus radio
> station, KTRU.
> We called it 'The Radio', pronounced 'Thuh Radio'. The
> previous PD was
> a fellow EE two years ahead of us, and someone you've heard of. We
> called him 'Thuh John Doerr', although not usually to his face. I
> worked on thuh station's news crew, and Scott and I made some
> waves with
> a story we broke about how the McGovernites had written off Texas in
> 72. That was really all Scott's doing. I was completely
> clueless about
> politics then (I'm sure many of you have no trouble believing
> that), and
> was just following leads Scott thought up, calling people Scott knew.
> I asked Scott about Bush's record on education. He said ...
> As one who has worked with W for the last 6 years, I believe his
> education claims are mostly bogus. His plusses:
> 1.) He does believe that all children can learn.
> 2.) He supports expansion of advanced placement courses.
> His minuses:
> 1.) He is so into the concept of "local control" that he has forgotten
> about checks and balances, and would if allowed eliminate all state
> requirements except testing. Had we let him, he would have, for
> example, eliminated our class size cap for k-4 (which he has started
> doing anyway by allowing the education commission to "waive" the
> requirement without any question for around 4,000 classrooms and the
> number is growing). It was enough of a priority for him that
> he had his
> staff "twisting arms" on the House floor during the debate.
> 2.) He talks about getting kids ready to learn, but then opposed
> expansion of kindergarten and pre-k programs, even though the cost was
> fairly small, because he said his tax cut was more important.
> 3.) The accountability system that he brags about was passed
> and signed
> by Ann Richards, not Bush. His education commissioner has fought every
> attempt to make sure the testing system includes as many kids as
> possible. The scores have been manipulated, so that a "70"
> passing score
> is now defined as getting as few as 53% of the questions
> correct, which
> is too bad because it casts a shadow on the good performances
> as well as
> the bad.
> 4.) One reason we have come a long way here is that we have
> gotten much
> closer to equal funding for poor schools districts and wealthy school
> districts. His only initiative in this area has been to widen to gap
> instead of closing it - something he felt strongly enough about that I
> got called to the governor's office to work something out with the
> attorney for one of the wealthiest districts (and he then
> ignored what I
> was trying to do and gave them everything they wanted.)
> 5.) For the most part, his increases in state funding for
> education have
> required an equal decrease in local property taxes, so while
> it fits as
> property tax relief, it did nothing for the budgets of the schools.
> 6.) He has very little interest in public higher education or
> scholarships, has told various people that we would be better off
> without public higher ed institutions and that he's not supportive of
> them because they waste money.
> What has happened each session is that he has rolled out some great
> sounding education initiative that we have had to rewrite and
> turn into
> something that had some value. He either doesn't have a clue, or is
> simply more interested in a good soundbite.
> Sorry if I went on a bit, but it does stick in my craw to have him
> oppose stuff and then take credit for passing it.....
> Best to Kate and the kids.
> S
> There you have the inside scoop. Whether this bodes good or ill for a
> Bush Department of Education remains to be seen. There are certainly
> those who feel the Feds should butt out (does the DoE do anything
> useful?) of the states' business of educating. Which is fine
> as long as
> there are enough Hochbergs to go around.
> Cheers,
> Wayne
> P.S. I spent 6 of my school years in the Houston Independent School
> District. That probably explains something.

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