At the Wednesday Republican debate Rick Perry promised that as president he’d eliminate three departments: Education, Commerce and um, hang on, I’ll get it. Oops. He later said that number three would be Energy.
So let’s forget for the nonce that Perry couldn’t remember all three departments he’d eliminate. We’ve all had brain freeze. But let’s look at each department.
Education: We’re falling behind in educating our K-12 kids. And nowhere is that more apparent than Texas.
- Texas is #49 in verbal SAT scores in the nation (493) and #46 in average math SAT scores (502).
- Texas is #36 in the nation in high school graduation rates (68%).
- Texas is #33 in the nation in teacher salaries. Teacher salaries in Texas are not keeping pace with the national average. The gains realized from the last state-funded across-the-board pay raise authorized in 1999, which moved the ranking from 33 to as high as 26th in the nation, have disappeared over the last five years.
- Texas was the only state in the nation to cut average per pupil expenditures in fiscal year 2005, resulting in a ranking of #40 nationally; down from #25 in fiscal year 1999.
- Texas is #6 in the nation in student growth. The general student population in Texas public schools grew by 11.1% between school years 1999 and 2005, with the largest percent of growth seen among low income and minority children.
- Between school years 1999 and 2005, the number of central administrators employed by Texas public schools grew by 32.5%, overall staffing in public schools grew by 15.6%, while the number of teachers grew only 13.3%.