Or did they?
One would certainly think so from these quotes from US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan:
Duncan told Bloomberg Television that Texas schools have struggled under Perry, saying he feels “very badly” for children who attend them.
“Far too few of their high school graduates are actually prepared to go on to college,” Duncan said. “I feel very, very badly for the children there.”
But before I start to weep for the children of Texas, where per-pupil spending and teachers’ salaries have been cut, I’d like to know how much the actual education of pupils there has suffered since the austerity measures were instituted. And funny thing, although I read the article several times and also did some supplementary Googling on the subject, the answer was nowhere to be found.
Perhaps when the entire Arne Burbank interview airs on Bloomberg TV, those figures will be provided. Perhaps they will substantiate his claims. But perhaps not.
Texas was not in the forefront of education even before the Perry cuts, although teacher/student ratios are above average there, and students tend to score around average on National Assessment of Education Progress tests. But the reasons Texas has not generally been a leader in education may have something to do with demography: “The state has more poor children than most, with one in four children living in poverty, compared to the one-in-five national average.”
And—okay, I’ll ask the question, because the article doesn’t—how many Texas schoolchildren are illegal immigrants? No one knows, but as of December 2010 the answer appeared to be “somewhere between 3% and 8%” of the total. It is logical to assume that this affects the entire Texas educational system in various ways that are not necessarily positive, including the need to wrestle with the language problem.
Oh, and by the way, speaking of language problems—here’s a message for Arne Duncan, educator-in-chief: it’s not “I feel very badly,” it’s “I feel very bad.” Unless, of course, there’s something wrong with the nerves in the tips of your fingers and your tactile receptors have gone awry, or your emotional makeup is off-kilter. If so, I feel very bad for you.