Conversations: State Budget Crisis and Education

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For those of you who aren't familiar with the statewide crisis that is the budget shortfall, you might want to take a moment to give it a Google.  Over the past few weeks, I've paid special attention to all of the jargon that local politicos - namely, Rick Perry - are spewing in regard to the matter.  And mostly, it's only managed to piss me off.  We've officially been recognized as one of the least literate cities in the nation, and now, the passageway to our educational respiratory system is being restricted.  Instead of seeking out yet another politician's opinion on the matter, I thought I'd go straight to the source: the potentially disenfranchised citizens that Perry may have overlooked during his budget preparation.  Monica Acevedo Garza, a mother of two and law-abiding taxpayer, has some very strong opinions about Mr. Perry's proposal.

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CX: What are your thoughts on the potential effects of the educational budget cuts? MG:  Basically, it comes down to our future. With what I’ve heard one of the major impacts for our current teachers and future teachers is job security. Northside Independent School District is facing the second largest budget cut. This cut would be eliminating central office positions, teacher positions, janitor and maintenance positions as well as vice principal positions. Maddox goes to a public school in NISD. By next school year the student to teacher ratio will have increased, he will not have a teachers aid in his classroom and we will have to supply toilet paper along with the already long list of other supplies required for the beginning of the year.  While I’m okay supplying these materials, my concern turns to the teachers motivation and passion for their job. CX:  Teachers are an already stressed resource.  How do you think they will be challenged by the budget cuts? MG:  I worry about what will happen to the soon to be teachers graduating from college.  Will our current teachers lose that passion for teaching and will my son will be affected by that?  Will he not learn at the highest education level that should be offered?  Don’t I pay taxes that should be going to our schools? CX:  Let's say that you were the governor.  How would you spend your citizens' tax dollars? MG:  Teachers should be given better pay and job security because they play a major part in molding our children into the people they will become.  I understand that parents should be number one in rearing their children to become outstanding citizens, but teachers give our children the knowledge and experiences to continue their education.  If they do not have the resources to give our children the best education possible, this will deter their drive and passion for teaching.  CX:  So, what's the end result?  Where do you think the future of our students will go from here? MG:  If our children are not given that best possible education, what professions will they have?  How will they be prepared for college?  Our country is already in the bottom of the bucket when it comes to education compared to other countries where elementary students are excelling at a middle school, even high school levels.  Education should be top priority.  Educators should be given all the resources to achieve high test ratings and prepare college-ready students.

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It's not too late to do something about this.  For more information, please visit this website.  Save Texas Schools, a non-profit organization dedicated to nothing more than saving Texas schools, will be hosting a rally and march at the capitol on March 12th, where you'll have the opportunity to voice your opinion to the people who need to hear it.  Let's keep Texas smart, y'all.

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