Letters to the EditorOct. 12, 2000
Give credit where it is due
In his opinion article, Clint Cox essentially gave all credit for our State's improved public education system to Ross Perot and former Gov. Mark White and former Gov. Ann Richards. As a former Gore operative, Cox's primary objective is to take credit away from Gov. George W. Bush.
For starters, to say that Bush tries to take all credit for our schools' improvement is a gross misrepresentation. Bush makes no such attempt and frequently gives credit to the legislature, including the many Democrats who helped pass the reforms.
The Perot Commission improved our schools, and White can claim credit for this. However, the Robin Hood plan has been under severe criticism for years, and the legislature desperately wants to dump it. Why? Because instead of allowing local school districts to raise extra money to improve their schools on their own initiative, it does what a lot of other misguided left-wing policies do -- it spreads mediocrity equally.
Cox downplays Bush's local control initiative as insignificant, even though the measure constituted a major structural reform in the education system that dwarfs anything done by Richards or White. In fact, it reversed a lot of Richards' efforts to concentrate power in the Texas Education Agency, because teachers, local leaders, and parents can manage our schools better than TEA bureaucrats can. I also do not see how Cox can suggest that 'no pass, no play' (a good policy) had a bigger impact than a 42 percent increase in funding and a $3,000 per year raise for teachers. It's all nonsense.