Education Secretary pounds Perry on Texas schools

posted at 4:05 pm on August 18, 2011 by Tina Korbe

The early attacks on Gov. Rick Perry come as no surprise: He’s a formidable candidate and, as such, is bound to take a beating from the administration and the MSM. At least Secretary of Education Arne Duncan had the sense to criticize Perry for something outside the unassailable fortress of his jobs record. It would have been better for Arne, though, if he had thought through his remarks a bit more. From Bloomberg:

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Texas’s school system “has really struggled” under Governor Rick Perry, a Republican candidate for president, and the state’s substandard schools do a disservice to children.

“Far too few of their high school graduates are actually prepared to go on to college,” Duncan said on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital With Al Hunt” airing Aug. 19- 20. “I feel very, very badly for the children there.”

“You have seen massive increases in class size,” Duncan said of the Texas public school system during Perry’s terms as governor since December 2000. “You’ve seen cutbacks in funding. It doesn’t serve the children well. It doesn’t serve the state well. It doesn’t serve the state’s economy well. And ultimately it hurts the country.”

Note the focus of Duncan’s comments: They turn on the fallacy that more money automatically means a better education. It’s an oft-repeated statistic, but it’s repeated for the simple reason that it makes the point: Since 1985, real federal spending on K-12 education has increased by 138 percent. On a per-student basis, federal spending on K-12 education has tripled since 1970. Yet, long-term measures of American students’ academic achievement have not seen similar increases.

Furthermore, Gov. Perry understands what too many governors don’t: Federal dollars for education — particularly in the case of Race to the Top — come with strings attached, even if those strings are hidden, as in the case of the “voluntary” national standards that accompanied RTTT funding (the adoption of which greatly improved the likelihood a state would score money from the federal government). Perry actually turned down federal dollars because he recognizes the role of the states, teachers and parents in education. The real question is: Who do you want to direct your child’s education? You and the teacher? Or distant, unelected bureaucrats?

Perry has made it possible for Texas to adopt some of the most rigorous standards in the country. In September 2009, Education Week even cited Texas as a leader in the adoption of college-ready standards. Perhaps Duncan feels spurned to have said what he said. It must have shocked him to encounter a politician who would actually say “no” to money for the sake of the freedom and flexibility that actually serve children’s educational needs well.


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I don’t want to brag, but my child got a perfect score on the Reading portion of TAKS last year, commended, that’s 1 with a double egg 00;) Passing TAKS is required in Texas, to move to the next grade, there is no social promotion.

Dr Evil on August 18, 2011 at 5:11 PM

Please give your little Mini-Me our congratulations!

Mary in LA on August 18, 2011 at 5:25 PM

Good on Perry. Palin turned down federal edu-bucks for the same reason – too many strings.

VidOmnia on August 18, 2011 at 5:26 PM

Dudley Smith on August 18, 2011 at 4:22 PM

Its all in how the response is structured .

Usin’ the NAEP data, the hispanic population of Texas scored in the top 5 of all states on 8th grade science for hispanics

phreshone on August 18, 2011 at 5:26 PM

Mo’ money does not make mo’ better.

Other countries rank higher in test scores than the U.S. while far lower in dollars spent per student.

publiuspen on August 18, 2011 at 5:27 PM

Do the Dems really want to go here?
I think not.
Gosh are they stupid.

ORconservative on August 18, 2011 at 5:30 PM

Please give your little Mini-Me our congratulations!

Mary in LA on August 18, 2011 at 5:25 PM

I will, thank you.

Dr Evil on August 18, 2011 at 5:31 PM

Other countries rank higher in test scores than the U.S. while far lower in dollars spent per student.

publiuspen on August 18, 2011 at 5:27 PM

Yeh, but I bet their self esteem is in the toilet.

txhsmom on August 18, 2011 at 5:32 PM

Education for the masses is not a liberal goal. They just want to turn it over to a labor union and be done with it. Arne,like the rest of the Obama administration, lies and deceives with every breath. Obama pushing American workers and jobs while on a bus tour with Canadian-made buses is the epitome of the incompetence that is destroying our country.

volsense on August 18, 2011 at 5:32 PM

So, nobody answer the question. I’ll ask again did rick Perry voted for Jimmy Carter over Ronald Reagan?

Falz on August 18, 2011 at 5:35 PM

This administration has zero credibility in the education debate. The litter on the National Mall had barely been cleaned up when Obama killed the successful, cost effective, and very popular DC School Voucher program. Educating our youth is nowhere near the top of Obama/Duncan’s list of priorities.

Bruce MacMahon on August 18, 2011 at 5:35 PM

and while we’ve got a ways to go on opening more Charter Schools and moving to vouchers, Texas has the most parent friendly Homeschooling environment.

Despite being severely dyslexic, all 4 of our kids are attending Texas universities and excelling – 2 with double majors, and 1 working on a post grad degree program.

2nd Ammendment Mother on August 18, 2011 at 5:38 PM

My kids attended Texas schools for a year. The Texas school system they were in was markedly better than the Illinois suburban school district from which they came, a school district which likes to brag about its “excellence”.

The children were just better prepared and engaged in Texas. The general conduct rules, including a sensible dress code, were enforced on day one. The teachers consistently communicated with the parents. In Illinois kids can wear flip flops and pajama pants to school and the teachers act like you are intruding on their territory if you want information about how your child is doing in their class. I hated moving back to the mediocre, but highly praised and expensive, school system in Illinois.

Arne ran the Chicago schools, ’nuff said.

Fallon on August 18, 2011 at 5:46 PM

Why is Arne Duncan talking about Texas anyway?

SlimyBill on August 18, 2011 at 5:48 PM

So, nobody answer the question. I’ll ask again did Rick Perry voted for Jimmy Carter over Ronald Reagan?

Falz on August 18, 2011 at 5:35 PM

I did. Sue me. I was young and it was my first vote cast in a presidential election. I actually worked on Anderson’s campaign but voted for Carter, lol.

What does it mean if he did? Nothing. Lots of people change parties. Reagan did and so did I.

Fallon on August 18, 2011 at 5:52 PM

TxAnn56 on August 18, 2011 at 4:57 PM

All my brothers and sisters graduated from that school except one and she graduated from Sharpstown the year it opened in ’71. And coincidently, one of my brothers was in Billy Gibbon’s homeroom all three years. I thought it was 99.92% hispanic now. They also took the “Robert E” out of the name. And to think Barbara Jordan gave the commencement in ’74.

What part of town you in?

DanMan on August 18, 2011 at 6:00 PM

Fallon on August 18, 2011 at 5:52 PM

I went for Ford over Carter and then Carter over Reagan. I also voted for Perot over Bush. My wife stills rubs my face in those Carter and Perot votes.

DanMan on August 18, 2011 at 6:04 PM

So, nobody answer the question. I’ll ask again did Rick Perry voted for Jimmy Carter over Ronald Reagan?

Falz on August 18, 2011 at 5:35 PM

I did. Sue me. I was young and it was my first vote cast in a presidential election. I actually worked on Anderson’s campaign but voted for Carter, lol.

What does it mean if he did? Nothing. Lots of people change parties. Reagan did and so did I.

Fallon on August 18, 2011 at 5:52 PM

I voted for Anderson – that was my first election, too. My best friend then was touting Reagan, but it took me a few years to come around. LIve and learn.

LASue on August 18, 2011 at 6:11 PM

So, nobody answer the question. I’ll ask again did rick Perry voted for Jimmy Carter over Ronald Reagan?

Falz on August 18, 2011 at 5:35 PM

Let me guess, Ron Paul?

But ya know what? Even though Ron Paul supporters are absolute kooks, I’d still defend him against Chicago garbage’s lies, just as I’m defending Perry.

MNHawk on August 18, 2011 at 6:18 PM

The early attacks on Gov. Rick Perry come as no surprise: He’s a formidable candidate and, as such, is bound to take a beating from the administration and the MSM

So using that logic you know who else is a formidable candidate?

unseen on August 18, 2011 at 6:20 PM

So using that logic you know who else is a formidable candidate?

unseen on August 18, 2011 at 6:20 PM

We don’t have a clue who you are talking about..Enlighten us?..:)

Dire Straits on August 18, 2011 at 6:23 PM

Obama’s army has been loosed. It’ll be along year. I just hope the verbal battle takes place, unlike with “don’t pick on Obama” McCain.

Don L on August 18, 2011 at 6:26 PM

You have seen massive increases in class size,” Duncan said of the Texas public school system during Perry’s terms as governor since December 2000. “You’ve seen cutbacks in funding. It doesn’t serve the children well. It doesn’t serve the state well. It doesn’t serve the state’s economy well. And ultimately it hurts the country.”

this line of attack would care more punch if they listed the actual numbers. Failure to do so tells me that when they say “massive increases” in class size their definition of massive might not be so massive after all. And how much cut backs are we talkign about. did Perry liek timmy balance the budget on the backs of the local schools?

I would like to knwo more about this. anyone got some good links to you know actual information instead of this partisan attack?

And Tina you are not doing Perry any favors by defending him against the charges without providing the you know actual numbers and stuff.

Yes we spend too much on education without results but that doesn’t change if Perry did or did not cut spendign on education nor does it change the fact of if he did or did not cause a massive increase in class size. And if the money came with strings attahed He was most likely correct to turn down the money.

And it’s a plus that TX increased its college ready courses. Still doesn’t answer the charges being made.

unseen on August 18, 2011 at 6:28 PM

We don’t have a clue who you are talking about..Enlighten us?..:)

Dire Straits on August 18, 2011 at 6:23 PM

well it ain’t Mitt

unseen on August 18, 2011 at 6:30 PM

Someone in charge of America’s schools criticizing how ANYONE else does their job is an utter joke.

Once again the Dems prove that they see schoolchildren as political tools and little else.

29Victor on August 18, 2011 at 6:31 PM

well it ain’t Mitt

unseen on August 18, 2011 at 6:30 PM

We get that..You tell us..:)

Dire Straits on August 18, 2011 at 6:33 PM

Fallon on August 18, 2011 at 5:52 PM

What about Walter Mondale over Reagan?

Let me guess, Ron Paul?

But ya know what? Even though Ron Paul supporters are absolute kooks, I’d still defend him against Chicago garbage’s lies, just as I’m defending Perry.

MNHawk on August 18, 2011 at 6:18 PM

Not even close.

Falz on August 18, 2011 at 6:48 PM

25,145,561 - the population of Texas in 2010.

I am guessing a good chunk of the population is of voting age and even votes. Arne doesn’t help his boss by attacking Texas. I have heard rumors that there are folks down here who actually vote Democrat. I doubt seriously they appreciate the state being the target of a partisan attack – that can’t bear close scrutiny. Maybe the Democrats aren’t competing in Texas in 2012? They feel they can attack Texas and Texans with impunity. They may be aiming at Rick Perry, but that’s not who they are hitting.

My child’s average for teacher per student ratio is 15.9. How is that too many children, per class, per teacher?

Dr Evil on August 18, 2011 at 6:58 PM

Texas Quick Facts from the U.S. Census Bureau

Pretty good break down of Texas population age ethnicity, manufacturing out put etc.

Dr Evil on August 18, 2011 at 7:07 PM

“I feel very, very badly for the children there.”

Sure you do Arne…sure you do.

BigWyo on August 18, 2011 at 7:08 PM

Tell us of the wonders of DC skools with their massive spending and illiterate graduates while you are at it Arne!

S is for switchblade.
H is for honky.
Gimme yo lunch monnay
or you bees wishin’ Arne done flonked me.

viking01 on August 18, 2011 at 7:13 PM

Oh, and another thing Arne….A Republican victory will be the end of your ‘job’ and you can go back to Chicago and make sure their school system remains in the toilet. More importantly, which ever Republican wins the Presidency should just go ahead and make sure there will be no more people like you by $hit canning your entire department.

BigWyo on August 18, 2011 at 7:19 PM

I don’t know but seems like the title is a double entendre considering what Arne’s been touting in his epically researched tome. /s

AH_C on August 18, 2011 at 7:48 PM

What part of town you in?

DanMan on August 18, 2011 at 6:00 PM

Wow, talk about a small world. Another brother who died graduated from Lee in 1970. It’s amazing to look at Billy Gibbons’ high school pic. I graduated from Sharpstown in ’75, along with Dubya’s Sec of Ed, Margaret Spellings. I’m in Sugar Land now, or what is becoming Calcutta.
Barbara Jordan was almost as tough on immigration as the Tanc.

TxAnn56 on August 18, 2011 at 8:04 PM

And Chicago schools are a model for society?
They seem to have an excellent race-rioting program…

Spartacus on August 18, 2011 at 8:16 PM

I wonder if he had any words for Detroit?

http://blogs.abcnews.com/theworldnewser/2009/12/what-is-the-worst-school-system-in-america.html

Detroit proudly led by Democrats since 1962.

CW on August 18, 2011 at 8:27 PM

I’d love to get some good links with a solid by the numbers discussion of Perry’s education spending cuts. For myself I’m not bothered by the cuts, however for my wife, her friends in Texas, have given her a negative impression of Perry based upon the size of the cuts to education in Texas. We’re from California so I haven’t heard about this until the past few days, and my searches on the internet have only found the basic talking points on both sides. I haven’t found real solid data either for or against the size and necessity of the cuts in education Perry pushed for. I’m sure there’s got to be some good info out there but in my limited searching I haven’t found anything yet.

FireDrake on August 18, 2011 at 8:35 PM

Someone in charge of America’s schools criticizing how ANYONE else does their job is an utter joke.

Once again the Dems prove that they see schoolchildren as political tools and little else.

29Victor on August 18, 2011 at 6:31 PM

Arne’s trying to make every school in America just like those awesome Chicago schools.

hawksruleva on August 18, 2011 at 8:47 PM

Texas is full of hispanics and blacks. of course they are not ready for college. Neither was Michael Jordan.

proconstitution on August 18, 2011 at 8:56 PM

LOL. I went to public school in Texas. I aced the SAT in the 7th grade and was invited to Duke University for grooming. I didn’t go. Class sizes in middle school were capped at 35. In high school, we had upwards of 50 kids in a class. I took the ACT in 11th grade and scored 31 out of 32. I goofed off working construction for the next 3 years until I found out that ACT score earned me a full scholarship to Baylor (I grew up in a poor family and my father pushed me toward a blue collar life). I then went on to earn my MS at UTMB.

My son is dyslexic. I discovered it early and had him enrolled in the Scottish Rite Hospital dyslexia program RIGHT THERE IN HIS TEXAS PUBLIC ELEMENTARY SCHOOL in the 2nd grade. He was “cured” within 2 years. He is now starting the 8th grade and reads on a 12th grade level.

I’m not sure the Administration should pick this fight either. Once you control for immigration and ethnic distribution, Texas public schools perform very well.

stvnscott on August 18, 2011 at 9:46 PM

I’m not sure the Administration should pick this fight either. Once you control for immigration and ethnic distribution, Texas public schools perform very well.

stvnscott on August 18, 2011 at 9:46 PM

This is the problem. No amount of money or tiny classes can help kids who start out in life abused, neglected, not getting enough sleep, and never having a parent read to them. Irresponsible parenting is epidemic in the U.S., and everyone expects the public schools to fix it, but by the time the kids get to first grade the damage has been done.

rockmom on August 18, 2011 at 10:59 PM

Let’s compare Tex. schools to the schools in Chicago where this idiot has been superintendent until Obama pulled him out of the cesspool and brought him to Washington to preside over the ruination of all schools in the U.S.

Marco on August 19, 2011 at 12:00 AM

What the hell is an administration official doing engaging in political activities ?

J_Crater on August 19, 2011 at 12:44 AM

Good question, J_Crater, but this is who they are. Hyper-partisan scumbags.

A few people picked up on the inconvenience of Arne the Chicago putz attacking the Governor of Texas on school progress, but not many. Chicago’s school system is one of the worst in America, and Duncan was in charge of it.

Pick a standard of measure — school scores, violence, spending, union control — and Chicago is worse than Texas. Beyond the complete absurdity of some patronage Chicago bureaucrap attacking a Governor because he has announced his candidacy, Duncan has nothing, and I mean nothing to talk about.

Jaibones on August 19, 2011 at 1:04 AM

Secretary F1sting is lecturing ANYONE on what gets taught in schools??

crushliberalism on August 19, 2011 at 8:55 AM

So, nobody answer the question. I’ll ask again did Rick Perry voted for Jimmy Carter over Ronald Reagan?
Falz on August 18, 2011 at 5:35 PM
I did. Sue me. I was young and it was my first vote cast in a presidential election. I actually worked on Anderson’s campaign but voted for Carter, lol.
What does it mean if he did? Nothing. Lots of people change parties. Reagan did and so did I.
Fallon on August 18, 2011 at 5:52 PM

Did Regan vote for FDR? I seem to remember that he did…

Count to 10 on August 19, 2011 at 9:04 AM

I went for Ford over Carter and then Carter over Reagan. I also voted for Perot over Bush. My wife stills rubs my face in those Carter and Perot votes.
DanMan on August 18, 2011 at 6:04 PM

I have to admit that my first to Presidential votes were for Clinton over Dole and Gore over Bush.

Count to 10 on August 19, 2011 at 9:12 AM

I haven’t found real solid data either for or against the size and necessity of the cuts in education Perry pushed for. I’m sure there’s got to be some good info out there but in my limited searching I haven’t found anything yet.
FireDrake on August 18, 2011 at 8:35 PM

You didn’t find real solid data for cuts in education Perry pushed for, because there were no cuts in school spending.

$3.25 billion in education stimulus funds did not go to schools — it did.
Perry cut school spending. Bunk! Bogus!
What happened? $3.25 billion in education stimulus funds went to schools, as required by law.
That freed up $3.25 billion of the states general funds for other things.

The complaint is the $3.25 billion in education stimulus funds plus the $3.25 billion of the states general funds, should have gone to public schools.

Some background: U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin. led last year’s effort setting special hurdles that Texas must clear to get the $830 million.
For starters, the money must
“supplement and not supplant state” funding, and the governor must assure that the state will not reduce the percentage of its budget going to public education through 2013.

The stimulus law has no prohibition against using the federal money to supplant state funding.

According to the Dems, there were many indications that the Obama administration wanted the money to be used to expand state education efforts in several areas noted in the stimulus legislation, including improving teacher effectiveness and supporting struggling schools.

However these “indications” and “wants” were not written into the bill.
So why didn’t Obama put his “indications” and “wants” in the bill?
Is mind reading a requiement when working with Obama?

DSchoen on August 21, 2011 at 5:59 AM

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