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“THIS IS A PROPERTY TAX INCREASE”

Recently I was looking at a proposition for a bond issue election and I noticed that the language of the proposition included the statement “THIS IS A PROPERTY TAX INCREASE”. I was surprised at this since many times bond issues are passed with a proposition which does not have a property tax increase or a property tax rate increase. However, I learned that the Texas legislature in the 2019 legislative session included a provision in House Bill 3 which required this language on a school bond proposition. The bill amended Section 45.003 of the Texas Education Code to require this language in each proposition on a bond election ballot, whether that statement is true or not. This is simply wrong!

What this requirement tells me is that the Texas legislature is not a supporter of public education. Bond issue elections are voted on by the local residents of a school district and they are the ones to decide whether a school bond issue passes or not. The legislature should stay out of it and let the local people decide. Yet the Texas legislature, controlled by Republicans, do not want to leave decisions to local voters, but they want to influence these elections by requiring a statement that may or may not be true of what the impact of a bond election might have on property taxes. The Republican controlled legislature is always crying when the federal government imposes something on them and they accuse the federal government of not allowing local state control. Well, they are doing the same thing to local school districts and boards of trustees when they impose such a requirement on school bond propositions that are put on a ballot by locally elected board members, and must be approved by local voters.

Many times school bond elections are passed and the passage does not require a tax rate increase because previous bonds are being paid off or previous bonds are being re-financed. This is done by local districts to keep the tax rate lower and allow needed bonds to pass without a tax rate increase. A district may pass a bond issue and the tax rate may not increase; however, the property tax on a property could increase if the value of that property has increased. But to require the statement on a proposition that “THIS IS A PROPERTY TAX INCREASE” may or may not be true depending on whether the property increases or decreases in value, even though the bond issue did not cause a tax rate increase.

The inclusion of this provision in H.B. 3 which was supposed to be a bill that improved school finance and school funding, which it did, is simply deceptive and wrong. It shows very clearly that those who knew this provision was in the bill were not being supportive of public schools improving their facilities or building new schools, although the local patrons may have been very supportive. I am sure many legislators did not even know this provision was in the bill. It is an anti-public education provision! Very clearly, the Texas legislature does not want schools to pass bond issues, even going to the point of being deceptive by requiring inclusion of a statement that could or could not be a true statement! This is not support of public education!

Should Public Education be a Political Pawn?

Recently I read another article about public education being in a crisis. But how many times has this been said? I have to say that I agree very much with the article. The pandemic has created many problems for schools, and now the schools are being attacked over culture war issues such as critical race theory, books in the library, curriculum issues, and how much control parents should have. What has precipitated this far-right conservative outcry toward public education? There is only one answer: Politics! We are very divided on many issues related to what is happening in our country. First of all, the pandemic brought on issues of whether schools should require masks, and also the issue of whether individuals should be vaccinated. I won’t debate either side, but the issue of mask wearing certainly brought people down on two sides. The issue of whether to get vaccinated or not again brought people down on two sides. The Democrats versus the Republicans, the Left versus the Right??? Schools became a convenient scapegoat for fighting these issues because schools were trying to decide what needed to be done to stay open and keep children and teachers safe. As a result the outcry occurred at school board meetings as to what schools should do! Mask or not mask: that is the question?

Then came the issue of critical race theory. The death of George Floyd and then the demonstrations of Black Lives Matter, once again divided people on the political spectrum of racism. The cry of “defunding the police” was another aspect of this issue that further divided people along the political spectrum. Schools again became a focal point of the debate as to whether or how much should be taught in our public schools regarding racism. Critical Race Theory, although I doubt it has ever been taught in K-12 public schools, became the issue to which people began to question school districts and boards of education on how the topic of racism is discussed in our schools. The outcry as to what the curriculum should be for dealing with the teaching of racism was certainly evident. Critical race theory was only a convenient term or phrase to be used by those protesting the teaching of racism. The question was simply: Do we or do we not teach about racism and its history in our country in our public schools? And if we do teach about racism, how is it taught?

Then came the issue of what books are on the shelves of our school libraries. I will be the first to say that books should be appropriate to the age and grade level of the students in the school. The question of how sex is addressed or talked about in books, the question of how books deal with racism, and the question of how books handle LGBTQ issues has created another issue for the outcry to school districts and boards of education. The question is: Should or should not these books be in the library?

The bottom line for politicians is that those on the far-right are using these issues to stir up parents and cause out-rage toward public schools. The politicians on the far-right see these issues as ones that will help them get elected or re-elected. These all have become culture war issues that are being centered around the public schools!

Is this an attempt by the far-right to further their agenda of getting vouchers, tax credits, and open enrollment for private schools? Some of the outcry may lead to legislatures pushing more towards open enrollment and vouchers; however, the outcry is more of an “I am right and you are wrong” issue. No middle ground, and issues that further divide our nation! Schools are a convenient local target for the culture warriors and it doesn’t seem to be subsiding. It is sad public schools have to deal with these issues when all they are doing is trying to keep students and staff safe, teach accurate history of our nation including racism, and placing appropriate grade level books in the libraries to allow student access to information and exploration.

Creating divides in our school districts that affect teachers, principals, superintendents, and boards of education will only affect the education of our children, and probably not for the better!

Should Public Education be a Political Pawn?

Recently I read another article about public education being in a crisis. But how many times has this been said? I have to say that I agree very much with the article. The pandemic has created many problems for schools, and now the schools are being attacked over culture war issues such as critical race theory, books in the library, curriculum issues, and how much control parents should have. What has precipitated this far-right conservative outcry toward public education? There is only one answer: Politics! We are very divided on many issues related to what is happening in our country. First of all, the pandemic brought on issues of whether schools should require masks, and also the issue of whether individuals should be vaccinated. I won’t debate either side, but the issue of mask wearing certainly brought people down on two sides. The issue of whether to get vaccinated or not again brought people down on two sides. The Democrats versus the Republicans, the Left versus the Right??? Schools became a convenient scapegoat for fighting these issues because schools were trying to decide what needed to be done to stay open and keep children and teachers safe. As a result the outcry occurred at school board meetings as to what schools should do! Mask or not mask: that is the question?

Then came the issue of critical race theory. The death of George Floyd and then the demonstrations of Black Lives Matter, once again divided people on the political spectrum of racism. The cry of “defunding the police” was another aspect of this issue that further divided people along the political spectrum. Schools again became a focal point of the debate as to whether or how much should be taught in our public schools regarding racism. Critical Race Theory, although I doubt it has ever been taught in K-12 public schools, became the issue to which people began to question school districts and boards of education on how the topic of racism is discussed in our schools. The outcry as to what the curriculum should be for dealing with the teaching of racism was certainly evident. Critical race theory was only a convenient term or phrase to be used by those protesting the teaching of racism. The question was simply: Do we or do we not teach about racism and its history in our country in our public schools? And if we do teach about racism, how is it taught?

Then came the issue of what books are on the shelves of our school libraries. I will be the first to say that books should be appropriate to the age and grade level of the students in the school. The question of how sex is addressed or talked about in books, the question of how books deal with racism, and the question of how books handle LGBTQ issues has created another issue for the outcry to school districts and boards of education. The question is: Should or should not these books be in the library?

The bottom line for politicians is that those on the far-right are using these issues to stir up parents and cause out-rage toward public schools. The politicians on the far-right see these issues as ones that will help them get elected or re-elected. These all have become culture war issues that are being centered around the public schools!

Is this an attempt by the far-right to further their agenda of getting vouchers, tax credits, and open enrollment for private schools? Some of the outcry may lead to legislatures pushing more towards open enrollment and vouchers; however, the outcry is more of an “I am right and you are wrong” issue. No middle ground, and issues that further divide our nation! Schools are a convenient local target for the culture warriors and it doesn’t seem to be subsiding. It is sad public schools have to deal with these issues when all they are doing is trying to keep students and staff safe, teach accurate history of our nation including racism, and placing appropriate grade level books in the libraries to allow student access to information and exploration.

Creating divides in our school districts that affect teachers, principals, superintendents, and boards of education will only affect the education of our children, and probably not for the better!

Should Public Education be a Political Pawn?

Recently I read another article about public education being in a crisis. But how many times has this been said? I have to say that I agree very much with the article. The pandemic has created many problems for schools, and now the schools are being attacked over culture war issues such as critical race theory, books in the library, curriculum issues, and how much control parents should have. What has precipitated this far-right conservative outcry toward public education? There is only one answer: Politics! We are very divided on many issues related to what is happening in our country. First of all, the pandemic brought on issues of whether schools should require masks, and also the issue of whether individuals should be vaccinated. I won’t debate either side, but the issue of mask wearing certainly brought people down on two sides. The issue of whether to get vaccinated or not again brought people down on two sides. The Democrats versus the Republicans, the Left versus the Right??? Schools became a convenient scapegoat for fighting these issues because schools were trying to decide what needed to be done to stay open and keep children and teachers safe. As a result the outcry occurred at school board meetings as to what schools should do! Mask or not mask: that is the question?

Then came the issue of critical race theory. The death of George Floyd and then the demonstrations of Black Lives Matter, once again divided people on the political spectrum of racism. The cry of “defunding the police” was another aspect of this issue that further divided people along the political spectrum. Schools again became a focal point of the debate as to whether or how much should be taught in our public schools regarding racism. Critical Race Theory, although I doubt it has ever been taught in K-12 public schools, became the issue to which people began to question school districts and boards of education on how the topic of racism is discussed in our schools. The outcry as to what the curriculum should be for dealing with the teaching of racism was certainly evident. Critical race theory was only a convenient term or phrase to be used by those protesting the teaching of racism. The question was simply: Do we or do we not teach about racism and its history in our country in our public schools? And if we do teach about racism, how is it taught?

Then came the issue of what books are on the shelves of our school libraries. I will be the first to say that books should be appropriate to the age and grade level of the students in the school. The question of how sex is addressed or talked about in books, the question of how books deal with racism, and the question of how books handle LGBTQ issues has created another issue for the outcry to school districts and boards of education. The question is: Should or should not these books be in the library?

The bottom line for politicians is that those on the far-right are using these issues to stir up parents and cause out-rage toward public schools. The politicians on the far-right see these issues as ones that will help them get elected or re-elected. These all have become culture war issues that are being centered around the public schools!

Is this an attempt by the far-right to further their agenda of getting vouchers, tax credits, and open enrollment for private schools? Some of the outcry may lead to legislatures pushing more towards open enrollment and vouchers; however, the outcry is more of an “I am right and you are wrong” issue. No middle ground, and issues that further divide our nation! Schools are a convenient local target for the culture warriors and it doesn’t seem to be subsiding. It is sad public schools have to deal with these issues when all they are doing is trying to keep students and staff safe, teach accurate history of our nation including racism, and placing appropriate grade level books in the libraries to allow student access to information and exploration.

Creating divides in our school districts that affect teachers, principals, superintendents, and boards of education will only affect the education of our children, and probably not for the better!

Should Public Education be a Political Pawn?

Recently I read another article about public education being in a crisis. But how many times has this been said? I have to say that I agree very much with the article. The pandemic has created many problems for schools, and now the schools are being attacked over culture war issues such as critical race theory, books in the library, curriculum issues, and how much control parents should have. What has precipitated this far-right conservative outcry toward public education? There is only one answer: Politics! We are very divided on many issues related to what is happening in our country. First of all, the pandemic brought on issues of whether schools should require masks, and also the issue of whether individuals should be vaccinated. I won’t debate either side, but the issue of mask wearing certainly brought people down on two sides. The issue of whether to get vaccinated or not again brought people down on two sides. The Democrats versus the Republicans, the Left versus the Right??? Schools became a convenient scapegoat for fighting these issues because schools were trying to decide what needed to be done to stay open and keep children and teachers safe. As a result the outcry occurred at school board meetings as to what schools should do! Mask or not mask: that is the question?

Then came the issue of critical race theory. The death of George Floyd and then the demonstrations of Black Lives Matter, once again divided people on the political spectrum of racism. The cry of “defunding the police” was another aspect of this issue that further divided people along the political spectrum. Schools again became a focal point of the debate as to whether or how much should be taught in our public schools regarding racism. Critical Race Theory, although I doubt it has ever been taught in K-12 public schools, became the issue to which people began to question school districts and boards of education on how the topic of racism is discussed in our schools. The outcry as to what the curriculum should be for dealing with the teaching of racism was certainly evident. Critical race theory was only a convenient term or phrase to be used by those protesting the teaching of racism. The question was simply: Do we or do we not teach about racism and its history in our country in our public schools? And if we do teach about racism, how is it taught?

Then came the issue of what books are on the shelves of our school libraries. I will be the first to say that books should be appropriate to the age and grade level of the students in the school. The question of how sex is addressed or talked about in books, the question of how books deal with racism, and the question of how books handle LGBTQ issues has created another issue for the outcry to school districts and boards of education. The question is: Should or should not these books be in the library?

The bottom line for politicians is that those on the far-right are using these issues to stir up parents and cause out-rage toward public schools. The politicians on the far-right see these issues as ones that will help them get elected or re-elected. These all have become culture war issues that are being centered around the public schools!

Is this an attempt by the far-right to further their agenda of getting vouchers, tax credits, and open enrollment for private schools? Some of the outcry may lead to legislatures pushing more towards open enrollment and vouchers; however, the outcry is more of an “I am right and you are wrong” issue. No middle ground, and issues that further divide our nation! Schools are a convenient local target for the culture warriors and it doesn’t seem to be subsiding. It is sad public schools have to deal with these issues when all they are doing is trying to keep students and staff safe, teach accurate history of our nation including racism, and placing appropriate grade level books in the libraries to allow student access to information and exploration.

Creating divides in our school districts that affect teachers, principals, superintendents, and boards of education will only affect the education of our children, and probably not for the better!