These Friends of Texas Linked In discussions explain how children have become America’s new political football. If states can refuse government help failing schools with no political backlash, the dream for educated youth and an informed democratic society dies with the schools. This discussion needs more attention. Pass it onto your friends and coworkers.

“What we do to our children, they will do to our society” Pliny the Elder 2500 years ago.

*Texas has low literacy rates and low graduations rates because they have such a large number of illegal immigrants in their schools. Most of their parents don’t care if they learn English or not, as long as the schools babysit them all day. Hooray for Texas refusing those federal funds. The funds come with strings attached and states have to give over even more control to the federal government everytime they take funds. Hooray for Governor Perry!
By Bill Merryman Operations Manager at WorkflowOne

*Abandoning children has severe consequences for a community for many years to come. The U.S. is a nation of immigrants.

We save no money when children don’t have the skills to read or finish school.

Not educating children leaves communities filled with dysfunctional citizens that go on to have more troubled children and families (and ridiculous prison populations).

The U.S. has five percent of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s prison population. Texas is also a national leader in rates of incarceration and crime.

It’s a cycle that has been repeating itself in parts of our nation for some years now.

Here is how Texas treats its children compared to the rest of the nation;This is where Texas rates among the 50 states:

Child Well-Being Indicators

Infant Mortality 20th
Child Death (1-14) 29th
Teen Deaths (15-19) 14th
Births to Teen Moms 50th
Late/No Prenatal Care 33rd
Child Poverty 44th
Uninsured Children 50th
Juvenile Incarceration 34th
Child Abuse Deaths 45th
Child Welfare Expenditures 42nd
Total Tax burden* 41st
Overall Rank** 46th

April 2008, Every Child Matters, Geography Matters

*Thanks for the comments, Michael!
We Texans need to start loving our state and its children more, and respecting the needs of our youngest
citizens–not trashing those needs!
I must say this–Rick Perry could–if he really wanted to–do a better job as a Native Texan AND as a topmost public servant.
He’s showing to all that he does not love Texas’ children enough to adequately serve them as a responsible, accountable, taxpaid role model.
Once young Texans turn age 18, Perry’s secret desire is to use them as pawns to get himself relected again, and keep self-serving power (much like many anti-American foreign leaders I know) as long as he can in his lifetime–in the hands of a few, immature rich whites–not in the hands of the many, as an American-style democracy such as Texas is suppose to truly have.

A Texas high school graduate like Perry is supposed to learn and act respectfully and, in a mature, competent, professional manner, with that acquired taxpaid knowledge, but the actual applying of that knowledge has yet to be seen nor fulfilled during his term of office.
By Steve Spacek Government Consultant/Researcher/Analyst

*Liberal tripe. This post is undoubtedly from a socialist who never read a government subsidy or mandate that they didn’t like. The program this post decries because Texas refused to participate was also deemed unfit by the TEACHERS UNION. If your program is so poor that even a union says it sucks it has to be bad. Ronald Reagan had it right when he aptly stated “Government isn’t the solution to the problems we face, Government IS the problem”. Never more true than it is today.
By George Keesee Supervising Project Controls Consultant

*How bad must it get for children in Texas before the citizens of the state stand up for them?

The economics of uneducated youth failing in school and later in the community cost the state for their entire lives as they become preteen moms and are in and out of jail and never become productive citizens.

The politics of hate are expensive as well as senseless.

To George’s socialist comment; I’ve owned and operated businesses for 35 years, and spent twelve years as a volunteer guardian ad-Litem working with abused and neglected kids and have seen how hard it is for teachers working in underfunded schools in communities with mean people, who when they can’t argue with the data or the facts in front of them, just call you names.

The bottom line is that this nation is great because it had great schools that produced bright citizens that brought us here.

There is little difference between letting bridges collapse into the river because of lack of maintenance (35W Minneapolis MN 2 years ago) and letting children become preteen moms and adolescent felons because the schools and early childhood programs are not supported (Texas).

It costs a tiny percentage of a rebuilt bridge (almost a billion dollars) to maintain it so it doesn’t fall in the river (MN did not maintain its bridge), and if you are up for the challenge, put a pencil to the cost of 20 to 30 years of institutionalization of the massive numbers of felons Texas is home to, add the estimated losses due to crime and violence per felon, and ask yourself if it might not be a better investment to see that children receive an education and become normal productive citizens.

Missouri just went through a similar exercise;

New York, Meet Missouri

*I think considering the number of “ILLEGAL” aliens in Texas, we do a pretty good job. I think the stats are skewed due to the illegals. I do not think we,as Texans, disregard any childrens needs. I have had experience where assistance to children is misappropriated by the parents. This is not an easily fixed situation
By Lynn Harris Equipment Sales & Production Consultant

*I beg to differ with Lynn’s statement that Texans don’t disregard any children’s needs.

What is the difference between Governor Bush rejecting federal funding to insure the children of migrant farm workers a few years ago, and this Governor rejecting the funding for all Texas children’s education today?

It is obvious that Governor Bush was willing to let the children of migrant farm workers suffer needlessly to make a political statement.

It is equally obvious that Texas has the worst literacy rates, child abuse death rates, uninsured child rates, child poverty rates, birth to preteen mom rates in the nation, and that Texans would rather keep it that way than help people they see as undeserving lead a better life.

Even if they are babies and very young children.

There is not a religion on the planet that allows the abandonment of children.

Texas, you are better than this.

*Michael, the problems with Texas schools (and schools in many other states) is that they have lost their focus on what they should and should not do. First of all, I question that constitutionality of the Federal government even being involved in educational matters, let alone the state’s involvement. Regardless, because of all of the red tape and the added expenses that come with it, there is too much that interferes with the most important mission of any school: teaching. All of the woes that currently exist will not go away because we throw more money at it. There has to be a desire from the teachers, the parents, and the students.

Parents need to be teaching their kids how to live, behave, and learn. Teachers need to teach the students what they need to know to make a living, not how to pass the next standardized test. Students need to understand that without an adequate education, they will not have a worthwhile life. Unfortunately, the Federal government with all of their great programs have brought about the literal dumbing down of America because schools cannot be effective.

As for “[t]here is not a religion on the planet that allows the abandonment of children”, should religion not start in the home first? The parents should care about their own children enough to make them better people. It’s not really the government’s responsibility.

Frankly, if we eliminate all of the taxes needed to fund all of these educational programs from Federal and state, we probably could pay more in local school taxes to help improve our schools and still have some of our own money left over. The problem with these programs is that money is not spent well and the same amount generated at the local level may provided even more without all of the strings attached.
By Christopher Reed Programmer/Statistical Consultant/Trainer

*The Texas Miracle and standardized testing came from the Bush administration.

I agree that improvements are needed, but disagree that a nation can have an adequate education system funded by bake sales and city / state taxes.

America has come this far only because it out educated the rest of the industrialized world and was able to out invent, and out produce the rest of the industrialized world with a superior work force.

We are now reaping the results of abandoning the weakest and most vulnerable among us for the last 25 years, as early childhood programs and education have gone begging year after year until graduation rates are almost as appalling as the rates of incarceration in most of America’s large cities. And yes, there is a correlation.

Education is the engine of progress and prosperity. No nation can achieve its potential for greatness without investing in its human capital. The extent to which children successfully negotiate the treacherous passage to adulthood depends on the earliest years of brain and emotional development. That explains why early childhood education is crucial to society.

Instead, some states are investing in the creation of at-risk children and assuming colossal costs of corrective measures that mostly fail regardless of how earnestly they are pursued.

The results of this undocumented policy are many:

1. A child is a work-in-process toward citizenship. A successful citizen adds $5 million of economic value to society in his/her life. If unsuccessful, that person instead costs society several million dollars in expenses. Therefore, the lost opportunity value between a success and a failure is somewhere between $5 and $10 million per child.

2. Young children are humiliated when they read below grade level. A wealthy society that rejects proven programs to avoid the humiliation of children is an immoral society (Houston’s school superintendent claims that there are 100,000 children in his schools not reading at grade level that could use federal dollars to help them learn how to read)..

3. Children who read by the third grade seldom are ever involved with the criminal justice system. Four of five incarcerated juvenile offenders read two years or more below grade, and a majority are functionally illiterate.

4. America has over two million prison inmates, the highest rate in the world and five to ten times that of European countries. Another five million Americans are involved in the criminal justice system for probation, parole, or supervision, all unproductive activities & there were 13 million prison and jail releases in the U.S. last year. Many states are spending a larger percentage on their prisons than on their schools.

5. Several states forecast needed prison growth based on third grade reading scores. Our federal prisons are operating at 130% of capacity.

6. No industrial nation equals the United States in neglecting the basic needs of working families with children.

My comment on religion was mis interpreted. I simply meant that there is not a religion on the Planet that allows the abandonment of children. We should all care what happens to our communities children. Or, somewhat selfishly, “what we do to our children, they will do to our society” Pliny the elder 2500 years ago.

*I have a novel idea, and it’s free, let’s put a concerned adult mentor with every child in Texas.
I will kick off the event, by mentoring my grandson, who lives with me.
I have followed this program for 45 years and have had great success with it, as I have 3 adult children and 3 Grand children, none of whom are in prison or on track to be street people.
By Lynn Harris Equipment Sales & Production Consultant

*Are the state government or school leaders saying no to the ADD money they receive in their schools to label normal kids as sick? No… they do not, of course.
This has little political impact and also the money is easily traced and always reach the purpose (it is so easy to label a very energetic kid, with lack of familiar attention, eating the garbage nutritionists recommend, as having ADD).

*Perhaps the schools do not need more money, so the political campaigns.
What do you think would be the politicians answer if those 700M were for a political campaign? Do you really think they would decline?
By Jose Alves Executive Director at Oxygen Trader
Texas has the HIGHEST INCARCERATION RATE of all US states–over 172,000.
Here’s the rates for selected Texas counties in 2006, courtesy Texas Commission on Jail Standards:

County (County seat) /Incarceration rate per 1,000 residents

Smith (Tyler) 4.71
McLennan (Waco) 3.54
Galveston (Galveston) 3.34
Dallas (Dallas) 3.11
Bexar (San Antonio) 2.74
Harris (Houston) 2.50
El Paso (El Paso) 2.15
Tarrant (Fort Worth) 2.12
Hidalgo (Edinburg) 1.81
Denton (Denton) 1.81
Coryell (Gatesville) 1.05

Its a shame that many of my home state’s public officials are sadly abandoning children–the future of Texas–by underfunding/keeping at bay dollars needed by youngsters to get a basic, fair education, yet recklessly throws away precious tax dollars on prisons, designed strictly to incarcerate–not to educate defendants–while continuously failing, year after year, to rehabilitate those juveniles sentenced–and, the crime rate across Texas keeps on skyrocketing!! Many of these public officials–Rick Perry downward–still fail to see/envision a possible reality–found with some other competing state- when tax dollars are indeed properly spent and accounted/targeted for education, not incarcerations:
States with higher education attainment rates have lesser rates of crime amongst their citizenry.
By Steve Spacek Government Consultant/Researcher/Analyst

*The problem with this argument is that too many people equate the government with society. This is incorrect. Society is based on a sense of community. If we would eliminate all of these “programs” from the Federal govenrment and allow for the money to stay home, in the community, then the people who will directly benefit from a better educational system will also have the funds available to pay for it.

Then again, it’s not just the money. If we could eliminate the bureaucracy of the Federal government, thus reducing the tax burden and thus leaving more of own money at the local level, then we could use more money locally and still have more buying power to go with it. Also, making it easier for some of us who have the ability and the knowledge to be able to teach without jumping through the hoops that the government has put into place, the quality of teaching might go up without much added cost.
By Christopher Reed Programmer/Statistical Consultant/Trainer

*An Opinion:
In many cases, even if you have the best educational system in the world, if the student goes home from that system to a home where the adults could care less whether the kids get educated, or are unable to encourage them, the result is failure. Many poverty level adults are in need of basic read/write skills themselves, so a student is exposed to 6-8 hours of uplifting education, then 16 to 24 hours of negative influence.
There is no way, with small exception, for the children to WIN!
By Lynn Harris Equipment Sales & Production Consultant

These posts underline the divide in our society today.

Those on the left are screaming at the top of their lungs that if we don’t spend money then we don’t care about solving problems.

Those on the right are offended by the cavilier attitudes towards the sacrifices these expenditures cause, and are equally troubled when the ever mounting expeditures don’t yeild the promised solutions.

Those of us in the middle are just that, caught in the middle.

I am old enough to remember the disasterous outcomes in the 1970’s of all the social spending that was done in the 1960’s. The inflation rates, the massively high unemployement, the equally high interest rates that bancrupted and diminished small business almost to the brink of extinction. None of which I look forward to experiencing again, yet these “progressive” leaders seem hell bent to revisit.

When the supposed “experts” dismiss a spending program as ineffective and not in the best interest of their group, it is shear folly and demigoddery (is that even a word?) to continue to bash those in leadership who deem it not in the best interests of us all to participate. The only people who want this money spent in Texas are the bloated educational bueraucrats who will get fat paychecks out of it. None of the teachers want it because it gives federal idiots the power to dictate what, where, when and why to our children with no local perspective allowed or invited. You think educational policy is contentious now, wait till the feds get to tell you what you HAVE to teach and HOW it has to be taught.

The prision analogy is a red herring. Washington DC has the highest per pupil expenditures in the entire US and their crime rates and rates of incarceration are equally high. The number of inmates inside the prison system has little if anything to do with education, save one metric. Those who walk away from the educational process without metriculating through it are locked up in higher percentages than those who stick it out. That doesn’t mean we should spend MORE money per pupil, that means we need to hold parents and students ALIKE more accountable.

The solution is not MORE money, the solution is get more bang for EACH buck. Rick Perry was right to walk away from this boondogel. Even the teachers say that. I trust them more than a special interest shill.
By George Keesee Supervising Project Controls Consultant

*I would have thought that equating increased spending with improved education was a completely discredited rationale by this time. I wish Ronnie had stuck to his guns and eliminated the Department of Education. What better way to demonstrate care for children than by standing by one’s principles?
By Russell Zech Construction and Engineering Learning and Organizaitonal Development Consultant

*I’m not certain, and I’m not even a native Texan, that it is very productive to extrapolate what goes on in Houston to the rest of Texas.
By Russell Zech Construction and Engineering Learning and Organizaitonal Development Consultant

*Certainly Houston/Harris County”s “no zoning,” anything goes, no ethics, immoral land use policy–I know of no other Texas not American city of substance wanting to eminate the 601 square mile, physically ugly, polluted, backwards Houston landscape. In fact, poor, unchecked outdoor commercial environmental conditions in Houston neigborhoods and elsewhere across Texas, allowing unzoned, unchecked code enforcements, are not conducive, end up abusing and waisting kids minds in their ability to learn/obtain a proper, human civilizing education, often turning them into hardened criminals. Still another circumstance contributing to why more convicted executed felons come out of Harris than any other US county, and Texas, as a state.
By Steve Spacek Government Consultant/Researcher/Analyst

*This is why we homeschool!
By Jennifer Sparks President of My Source Energy LLC