GOP presidential front runner and secession enthusiast Gov. Rick Perry (TX) touts the primacy of state control and often points back to his reign over the state of Texas as proof of its efficacy. Of course, under Perry, Texas has a plummeting employment-to-population ratio, the highest rate of uninsured residents, the greatest number of executions, the highest pollution rate, and a derth of well-paying jobs.
On education, Perry offers the same message: “I don’t think the federal government has a role.” In rebuking the Obama administration’s Race to the Top education funds, Perry said it “smacks of federal takeover of public schools” and “could very well lead to the ‘dumbing down’ of the rigorous standards we’ve worked so hard to enact.” Once again, Texas tells a different story. Perry’s education “standards” — exemplified by $4 billion in budget cuts to education for the upcoming budget cycle — will force schools to lay off as many as 49,000 teachers and will leave at least 43,000 college students without financial aid:
Faced with a $15 billion budget deficit this year, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed off on $4 billion in cuts to education in the 2012 and 2013 budgets. The Texas State Teachers Association estimates that as many as 49,000 teachers may be laid off as a result of the cuts and 43,000 college students will lose all or part of their financial aid.
Indeed, scholarships for 29,000 low-income college students will be completely eliminated. What’s more, Perry’s axe to the education budget has forced local school districts to impose fees on school programs and services for students and families, universities to find outside money to continue high-level research, and some universities to consider imposing higher tuition or fees on students.
The cuts will entirely eliminate the state’s medical primary care residency program and reduce funding for the family-practice residency by more than 70 percent. In fact, Perry’s entire education vision will result in the loss of more than 100,000 private sector jobs.
Last year, Texas ranked dead last in the percentage of adults with high school diplomas. That same year, Texas ranked very low among states for spending per student in public school. If Perry wants to continue to point to a state to prove his efficacy, he may have to pick one other than Texas.