Castro, A. (2011) Public education in Texas facing massive cuts, January 19

This news report sets out the cuts coming to public education in Texas:

Texas is facing a $15 billion revenue shortfall, and few corners of state government were spared in the draft proposal for the next two years. The Texas Constitution requires a balanced budget, and Republican leaders have vowed not to raise taxes…..Lawmakers got their first glimpse of what the next state budget might look like late Tuesday, including the $5 billion cut to public schools.

It would shutter four community colleges and generally eliminate financial aid for incoming freshmen and new students. The Texas Grants scholarship program would drop by more than 70,000 students over the next two years.

It also would mean about 100,000 children would no longer have access to pre-kindergarten, schools won’t get help building new science labs and would end a program that helps students earn promotion to the next grade. The plan would slash $772 million for Texas colleges and universities, including nearly $100 [million] for flagship universities Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Austin.

What Texas is doing is mortgaging its future as a competitive state in a knowledge-based society. These policies will further widen the gap between rich and poor in the state. The refusal to pay taxes for public services means that only the wealthy will end up getting access to post-secondary education in Texas. As a result, Texans will find it increasingly difficult in the future to compete in new knowledge-based industries. Texas is not alone in this ‘balance budgets without raising taxes’ philosophy. It is a dangerous, self-defeating trend, based on an ideology which has been shown over and over again not to deliver on its promises. You need to balance your budget as a state over the long term, but trying to do so without paying for needed services is a foolish way to do it.

For detailed argument and facts that show such cuts to higher education budgets to be foolish see:

Long, K. (2011) The Budget Breakdown: Trimming higher ed may erode job opportunities Seattle Times, January 18

“We’re making a dangerous, and deadly serious, policy decision to think we can systematically defund higher education without consequences,” said state Rep. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, vice chair of the House’s higher-education committee. “Higher education is the DNA and soul of an innovation economy.”


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