Yes Gov. Perry, it is your fault - remember the 65% rule

Posted in Around The State, Bad Government Republicans, Commentary, Education, Had Enough Yet?, Public Schools, Right Wing Lies at 1:43 pm by wcnews

It’s clear from GOP Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s statement today that he’s worried, and rightfully so, about him and the rest of the Texas GOP getting blamed for 100,000 plus teacher layoffs that are coming in Texas. And they should be, it’s all their fault. Their tax swap scheme which created a $5 billion dollar structural deficit has caused a good deal of the multi-billion dollar budget shortfall we’re facing in Texas.

But in Perry’s answer to the question we learn a few key things, Don’t blame state for teacher layoffs.

Gov. Rick Perry was asked about the thousands of Texas teachers expected at the Capitol this weekend to protest legislative proposals to cut billions of dollars in funding from school districts. Those proposals have prompted school districts across the state to begin laying off employees, including teachers, and the districts are preparing for many more layoffs to follow in the coming months.

“The lieutenant governor, the speaker, their colleagues aren’t going to hire or fire one teacher, as best I can tell,” Perry said. “That is a local decision that will be made at the local districts.”

He said school districts, like families and businesses, need to set priorities when funding dips.

“Over the course of the last decade, we have seen a rather extraordinary amount of non-classroom employees added to school rolls,” Perry said. “So are the administrators and the school boards going to make a decision to reduce those, or are they going to make a decision to reduce the number of teachers in the classroom? I certainly know where I would point.”

But data from the Texas Education Agency does not suggest a surge in non-teachers over the last 10 years.

In 2000, according to TEA’s website, 48.7 percent of school employees across the state were non-teachers. In 2010, that number was 49.5 percent.

Embry did a good job of pointing out one lie with the TEA numbers. Despite Perry’s pronouncement, in reality there is little he can do to change the perception that’s already set. His party, the Texas GOP, of which he is the face, will be blamed for the massive teacher layoffs. That’s what happens when your party has complete control of every branch of government.

The other part that shows his worry is that he’s falling back on an already tried and failed line of attack. Anyone remember the 65% rule? Basically it was a right-wing corporate school finance scheme to pit teachers and non-teachers against each other in an attempt to break the teachers union. (From the link above on the 65% rule. Some links are broken because the corporate effort by Mr. Bryne is no longer active).

While reading this Austin Chronicle article, Perry takes a weak stab at education reform, I figured I should start looking around a little. This looked like a good place to start:

The “65% rule” is actually a national campaign launched byOverstock.com owner Patrick Byrne, a fact that galls most education groups. They say it’s an arbitrary figure based on whim rather than research.

Turns out Mr. it’s all about the O, has gone off and created himself a think tank complete with glamour shot, First Class Education. Now it’s got all the right endorsements. I mean who could reform education without the endorsement of Grover Norquist after all?

“The First Class Education Initiative allows taxpayer dollars to directly reach the children instead of school bureaucrats. Voters can AND will send a powerful message to union leadership. Opposition to this measure to increase funding for classroom instruction and more qualified educators will be detrimental to their general membership.”

Turns out that this campaign has nothing to do with making schools better it’s just another “conservative” campaign against unions. Here’s how another great “conservative” describes the so called solution:

His idea — call it the 65 Percent Solution — is politically delicious because it unites parents, taxpayers and teachers while, he hopes, sowing dissension in the ranks of the teachers unions, which he considers the principal institutional impediment to improving primary and secondary education.

While it might do that it also does this:

Inherent in Perry’s spending rule is the faulty assumption that school districts waste their money on things unrelated to education. Like administrators. Or librarians. Or computer specialists. Or social workers. Or school nurses.

It’s sweet irony that Perry said this after meeting with Grover Norquist yesterday. There was also this from the 2005 AusChron article:

The action was unprecedented, decisive, and designed to shore up Perry’s conservative base that has yet to claim a big victory out of the current school finance debate. Americans for Prosperity called it “the most significant education reform in decades.” Comptroller and gubernatorial candidate Carole Keeton Strayhorn called it a “political charade.” And education lobbyists say the fact that Perry could have done it all along – just as he could have used executive authority to pass, again, the school finance budget he vetoed – prompts the question of why Perry called lawmakers back to Austin at all.

No right-wing “free-market” privatization scheme would be complete without the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity.

This should make clear to everyone, as Naomi Klein has shown so well, (Naomi Klein on Anti-Union Bills and Shock Doctrine American-Style: “This is a Frontal Assault on Democracy, It’s a Kind of a Corporate Coup D’Etat”), that the GOP will not let this crisis go to waste. They will use it to try and enact their right-wing ideology that harms working and middle class Texans and only helps corporations and the wealthy. Oh, and it will be all Perry and his party’s fault.


  1. Eye on Williamson » Al Franken & Save Texas Schools said,

    March 14, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    […] That is classic everyone is to blame, no one is to blame journalism. We all know that Perry and his party are to blame. […]

  2. Eye on Williamson » Education is a priority, just not to Perry said,

    April 8, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    […] 2010 he said he could assure educators that public school spending would not be cut. He then made a lame attempt to try and blame those upcoming cuts, because of cuts in state education spending, on the local […]

  3. Eye on Williamson » Superintendents starting to see the light said,

    April 12, 2011 at 10:34 am

    […] Outraged Over State Lawmakers Ignoring Budget Deficit Warning. It appears that since Gov. Perry falsely absolved himself, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst, and Speaker Straus of any blame for the coming decimation of public education […]

  4. The Real Rick Perry | Texas Progressive Alliance said,

    August 19, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    […] Perry mega-donor got “special deal” to receive taxpayer money (Eye On Williamson) […]

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