Texas Conservatives Fight For Education
by Fernando Trevino on March 29, 2011 at 9:31 AM
When I was in high school, I quickly realized there were a lot of inefficiencies in my local school district, but it wasn’t until I started looking into conservative projects such as Protect the Classroom and the Red Apple Project that I realized how much of a structural problem there really is. These initiatives are aimed at exposing the inefficiencies present in our schools and save teaching jobs in the process. Whenever it is time to make tough decisions and make cuts to education, bureaucrats opt to cut our teachers and put the quality of our education at risk rather than go to the root of the problem – reckless spending.
The school district I graduated from is one of the largest employers, if not the largest, in Brownsville, Texas with over 7,500 employees. Not surprisingly, only 3,300, or 44.6 percent, of those are actually teachers! This means that the majority of the school districts approximately $472 million revenues is spent outside of the classroom and not on the education of students. Unfortunately, when it is time to make cuts, it is that 44 percent of employees, the teachers, who are hit the hardest. To make matters worse, most teachers do not know they are being used as a political scapegoat by these administrators who rarely touch the other 56 percent of their budgets. I believe this is so because whenever Republicans talk about education cuts, people immediately assume we mean cuts to teachers which could not be further from the truth.
When we look closer at how this money is all spent, we also find that teachers are the lowest paid staff members of these school districts. This is especially true in Brownsville ISD where the average teacher makes $48,412:
- $10,000 less than the average staff salary,
- $20,000 less than the average school administrative staff salary,
- $67,000 less than the average central administrative staff salary,
- and an offensive $150,000 less than the Superintendent’s salary, not including benefits and bonuses.
Conservatives do not want to cut teachers; it is the costs that do not add to our quality of education that we want to cut. These cuts are beneficial to taxpayers and more importantly, students! Brownsville ISD currently receives slightly over $9,700 in revenue per pupil and only spends $5,100 of that on instructional expenditures. I do not believe that money alone can improve our education system; competition and merit are also very important. We can start by ensuring that education money is actually spent on its intended purpose – to educate our students!
This will never be accomplished by cutting in the classroom, we must look outside the classroom, protect teachers, and make sure tax dollars are being spent to actually educate children rather than continue bloating our government. As someone who was raised by an educator and has two grandmothers who worked in education, I am ashamed to have discovered that so much money is being excessively spent on administrators while teachers have to dig into their own pockets to provide their classrooms with essentials such as notebooks, staplers, markers, and other things that actually can aid a teacher in achieving higher educational standards. This conservative effort is all about education, not just protecting teachers but educating them and the public as to how money is being inefficiently spent and illustrating its negative effects on our quality of education.