In light of the ongoing debacle that is the Texas State Board of Education, Rick Perry's remarks about preparing students for "any job" is laughable. In this very serious interview with the very conservative Heritage Foundation, Perry brags about how he rejects Federal money for Texas schools.
Watch carefully as he very nearly says "private school system" when he means to say "public school system". He catches himself, but it's an interesting moment, to say the least.
In order to preserve their "unique curriculum", Perry rejects adherence to Federal standards for students, or any national curriculum plan. Of course he does, because that would mean they'd have to put Jefferson back in and change those references to "free market principles" back to "capitalism". Students might actually have an opportunity to study literature that's not propaganda disguised, and open their minds a little.
Keep in mind, this is a state that is tracking students with RFID chips and is struggling with how to pay for students' education to the point where they're even considering an amendment to their state constitution to raise property taxes. I wonder how many books those RFID chips and trackers might have bought. Gotta love that liberty-minded state.
Before you believe that pablum Perry served, I should remind you of two facts: First, just three weeks ago Texas schools received awards of $248 million in federal grants for teachers; and second, the Texas Attorney General, also a Republican, is suing the federal government to get a share of the funds allocated for teachers and firefighters in the recently-passed federal aid bill.
The money – the state's part of a $10 billion jobs package Congress approved last month – has been caught in a crossfire between Gov. Rick Perry and his Democratic critics in Congress, who've required Texas to promise that its share of education spending won't be cut before 2013.
Perry, a Republican, has said the state Constitution precludes him from making such a promise. Two weeks ago, the Education Department rejected his application for the funds – enough to protect 14,500 jobs in schools statewide – saying it had to abide by the congressional mandate, which applies only to Texas.
Perry called it an "unconstitutional anti-Texas amendment" and chided its author, Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, and his allies for harming state interests.
The reason for that Texas-specific caveat?
Doggett and other Democrats in Congress accuse Perry of using a $3.2 billion infusion of emergency school funds last year to improve the state's budget outlook, rather than its schools – all while railing at Washington's excesses and touting his fiscal acumen in balancing the state budget.
They said the three-year promise was necessary to avoid a repeat of that. No other state had to make a promise beyond 2011 to qualify for the aid.
All of that makes that Heritage interview seem like a Texas-sized tall tale, doesn't it?
(h/t ThinkTanked Blog)