The long knives are coming out. Answer me just one question. What is the Secretary of Education doing commenting on the political candidacy of a governor running for President? Isn't that the role of the Democratic National Committee or the opponents of the governor? Why is a federal executive official in charge of an unnecessary bureaucracy and recruited from a demonstrably failed and corrupt public school system sticking his nose in the issue?
Arne Duncan Trashes Texas Schools
Let's note that the DOE pays less than 10% of K-12 education costs. Nearly 40% of K-12 costs in Texas are borne by locally funded Independent School Districts and that is unrelated to state budgetary decisions.
Let us further stipulate that Texas has a constitutional requirement for a balanced budget. When you've got that requirement and a contracting economy you will make spending cuts. When 38% of your state budget goes to education it is inevitable that you will find cuts.
If we return to yesterday's discussion of statistics on poverty and the meaningless use of a national number for comparison of states then we can quickly grasp that it costs a lot less per capita to provide an education to a kid in Texas compared to one in Chicago.
We have a very rigorous classification system for evaluating schools. Schools strive for the elusive "Exemplary" ranking and once they get it work very hard to keep it. There are continual reviews of data to insure that manipulation of the statistics doesn't provide false rewards. When schools, faculty or students fail to achieve in Texas they are told. The result is that we provide meaningful numbers and occasionally those numbers are unpleasant.
At the higher education level, the state's university, college and community college system is one of the most respected in the nation. There is a linkage between that system and the attractiveness of Texas to high-tech industry which is bringing both jobs and dollars to Texas.
But, to be perfectly honest, there is also a very complex system of regulatory boards and commissions for both K-12 and the higher education system. Some are elected and some are appointed. Some are appointed by the governor but subject to state senate confirmation. The school system's performance is only very peripherally related to the Governor.
And there isn't any damned reason for the Secretary of Education to be blundering in here.