You can’t adequately assess a legislative session unless you look at how your team played both on offense and on defense. We have been highlighting the offense so far—some of the bills that have been passed. But school advocates also played defense this session. In fact, they played a lot of defense, and did it quite well. When you have a Lieutenant Governor being advised by people who think that Pre-K is a “godless environment” and a member of that Committee calling the public education system a “monstrosity” you need to play a good defense.
So here are some things that did not happen. Vouchers did not happen. Tax credit scholarships (aka “voucher lite”) did not happen. The parent “trigger” law did not make it. Nor did the so-called “Opportunity School District.” The effort to tie test scores to teacher evaluation and compensation flunked, as did the effort to junk the minimum salary schedule. District employees will still have the opportunity to have association dues deducted from the paycheck. And homeschoolers will not be participating in UIL activities—the Tim Tebow bill was fumbled.
I noticed with interest that ESCs survived another session, but did not get a pay raise. They will be funded with $25 million for the biennium—the same amount as the last two years. That’s $25 million for all 20 of them, and it’s for two years. So that’s $12.5 million a year for 20 ESCs. That comes out to $625,000 per ESC per year. In terms of the overall budget, that’s chump change. When you consider the great work and service that ESCs provide, that’s a terrific bargain for the people of Texas.
DAWG BONE: WORKING WITH THE LEGISLATURE INVOLVES BOTH OFFENSE AND DEFENSE.