WILLisms.com on Twitter
The Babe Theory Of Political Movements.
Mar. 21, 2005 11:50 AM
Iran's Sham Election In Houston.
June 20, 2005 5:36 AM
Yes, Kanye, Bush Does Care.
Oct. 31, 2005 12:41 AM
Health Care vs. Wealth Care.
Nov. 23, 2005 3:28 PM
Americans Voting With Their Feet.
Nov. 30, 2005 1:33 PM
Idea Majorities Do Matter.
May 12, 2006 6:15 PM
Twilight Zone Economics.
Oct. 17, 2006 12:30 AM
The "Shrinking" Middle Class.
Dec. 13, 2006 1:01 PM
From Ashes, GOP Opportunities.
Dec. 18, 2006 6:37 PM
Battle Between Entitlements & Pork.
Dec. 21, 2006 12:31 PM
Let Economic Freedom Reign.
Dec. 22, 2006 10:22 PM
Biggest Health Care Moment In Decades.
July 25, 2007 4:32 PM
Unions Antithetical to Liberty.
May 28, 2008 11:12 PM
Right To Work States Rock.
June 9, 2008 12:25 PM
Social Security Reform Thursday.
January 29, 2008
Caption Contest Archive
Jan. 21, 2009
The Carnival Of Classiness.
Mar. 14, 2006
Quotational Therapy: Obama.
Apr. 4, 2008
Mainstream Melee: Wolfowitz.
May 19, 2007
Pundit Roundtable: Leaks.
July 9, 2006
A WILLisms.com(ic), by Ken McCracken
July 14, 2006
Powered by Movable Type 3.17
Site Design by Sekimori
WILLisms.com January 2009 Book of the Month (certified classy):
The WILLisms.com Gift Shop:
This Week's Carnival of Revolutions:
Carnival Home Base:
Myths and flat out lies about Texas and Rick Perry- Education.
Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 939 -- Liberal Criticisms Against Texas: That Dog Won't Hunt-
Barack Obama's Secretary of Education Arne Duncan decided to weigh in on Texas' education system last week, making a politically driven attack on Rick Perry on behalf of a feckless President whose numbers are tanking. It was an epic failure.
Education reporter Rodger Jones of the Dallas Morning News, certainly no conservative, blasted Duncan:
Education Secretary Arne Duncan's insult to Texas public education was a politically motivated distortion that doesn't become a federal official in his position.
"Lies" is a pretty strong word. After all, Andrew J. Rotherham of Time magazine took issue with Duncan, but being a Time magazine writer, he gave the Education Secretary the benefit of the doubt, saying he was "confused" by the politically motivated attack on Texas.
So what was the deal? What did Duncan say that was so egregious as to raise the ire of even the left-leaning education press?
More from Rodger Jones of the DMN:
The tipoff that Duncan doesn't care about facts was his statement about "massive increases in class size in Texas" during Rick Perry's time in the governor's office.
Class sizes fell under Rick Perry. Period. And, yet, Duncan asserted "massive increases" in class size. That really does seem to cross the line from "confused" into just "flat out lying," as Ed Morrissey put it over at Hot Air.
Even the New York Times got in on the action, in Paul Krugman's usual spot (he's sort of on vacation), imploring people not to mess with Texas:
When a 2009 McKinsey study contrasted Perry’s home state to the similarly sized and situated California, it found that Texas students were “one to two years of learning ahead of California students of the same age, even though Texas has less income per capita and spends less per pupil than California.”
This is incredibly important. Texas has been a sponge for migrants both from inside the country and from foreign countries, particularly Mexico. Texas is now a minority-majority state. This is important when averaging the score of millions of people together. As I've noted before here (with a great assist from Iowahawk), Texas' white kids outperform the nation's white kids, Texas' black kids outperform the nation's black kids, and Texas' Hispanic kids outperform the nation's Hispanic kids.
2009 4th Grade Math
Fourth grade math scores, sorted by state:
Fourth grade math scores, sorted by race:
2009 8th Grade Math
Eighth grade math scores, sorted by state:
Eighth grade math scores, sorted by race:
2009 4th Grade Reading
Fourth grade reading scores, sorted by state:
Fourth grade reading scores, sorted by race:
2009 8th Grade Reading
Eighth grade reading scores, sorted by state:
Eighth grade reading scores, sorted by race:
2009 4th Grade Science
Fourth grade science scores, sorted by state:
Fourth grade science scores, sorted by race:
2009 8th Grade Science
Eighth grade science scores, sorted by state:
Eighth grade science scores, sorted by race:
The RAND Corporation studied this phenomenon, as well, and confirmed that Texas students outperform their national counterparts.
Texas can boast the top 2 public high schools in America. Plus 6 of the top 14. 7 of the top 20. And 13 of the top 38:
The next time someone claims Texas ranks "near the bottom" in education, ask them to read this post and get back with you.
The Heritage Foundation mocks Duncan's "crocodile tears" and explains how mediocrity has become the name of the game in the national education discussion:
68 percent of districts across the United States are below the 50th percentile in mathematics achievement. In more than half of states, no more than three districts have average student math performance that would place students in the upper third of math achievement in international comparisons.
Indeed, while beating national averages is not necessarily anything to write home about, it is still critical to acknowledge that the Texas model, far from perfect, has beaten the Chicago model. The Texas model may even very well may be a model for closing the minority achievement gap in other states, as well.
Knowing all of this, watch the hackery from the Obama lackey for yourself:
Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott fired back with some facts:
-- In 2009, Texas ranked 7th in a 26 state comparison of the only states reporting four-year on-time graduation rates. That year Texas' on-time graduation rate was 80.6%. The Texas on-time graduation rate for 2010 is now 84.3%, an amazing 3.7 percentage point increase in a single year on the dropout indicator that you are now requiring all states to report to the Department.
This Duncan guy was chosen because he was a loyal player in the Chicago political machine, not because he is competent or innovative.
The smackdown he has received from even reporters who tend to sympathize with his team may mean we won't be hearing much from Arne Duncan for a while. This really blew up in Team Obama's face.
Texas has major education challenges, no doubt, both in K-12 and higher ed. The growth of local school district spending on extraneous facilities and administrators is a serious problem, for example. But if you want to bring weak sauce about Texas, as Obama's education guru did, prepare to look foolish.
UPDATE: Didn't even notice this before. Arne Duncan used incorrectical grammars when criticizing Texas and Rick Perry.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Texas State Government Debt Is Among The Lowest In America.
Texas' Interest Payments On Government Debt: Third Lowest In America.
Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 938 -- Texas Debt Among Lowest In Nation-
From the Tax Foundation:
With so much recent discussion of the fiscal outlook of the federal government, it's worth looking at the solvency of state governments as well. Today's map shows how much interest on their debt the states pay as a percentage of their direct spending.
Texas also has the second lowest debt per capita at the state government level:
Texas also has the second lowest state debt as a percentage of personal income.
While it is true that voters in Texas have approved far more bond debt, mostly for roads, in the past decade (voters, even conservative Texas voters, tend to vote "yes" to almost any shiny objects on the ballot), those bonds are at least paid for with fees and assessments, and they are targeted and temporary, for specific purposes like infrastructure.
Texas has seen its non-self-supporting debt (the kind that gets you in trouble because the money is spent on who-knows-what and there's no mechanism for paying back the borrowing) fall significantly in recent years, to the tune of roughly 16%.
Forbes ranks Texas number four (meaning, one of the best) on its debt weight scorecard, and gives Texas four stars out of four for avoiding a state debt disaster. All this, and Texas remains a donor state, contributing more in taxes to Washington than it receives back in federal benefits.
Moreover, while America got downgraded under President Obama, Texas got a credit upgrade under Rick Perry.
So, to recap:
Texas has the second lowest debt per capita in America, as well as the third lowest interest payments on the debt of any state, despite it being a donor state, according to the Tax Foundation.
Forbes gives Texas four stars for its debt situation, and ranks Texas fourth in the country for the best handling of debt.
Texas also has the second lowest debt in the country, as a percentage of personal income, has reduced its non-self-supporting debt substantially over the past decade, and had its bond rating recently upgraded.
While Texans ought to keep an eye on all of that voter-approved local debt, and possibly make it harder for bond issues to make it onto the ballot in the first place, Texas' debt situation under Governor Rick Perry is a great story to tell, relative to America's debt explosion under Barack Obama.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Five Amazing Facts About Texas' Economy.
VIDEO: "It's Time For Rick Perry" (Students for Perry)
The Students for Perry have put out a video today highlighting Texas Governor Rick Perry's unmatched record of job creation:
Will Governor Perry take the leap and get into the race, perhaps even in the next few weeks? I wholeheartedly hope so. No other candidate in the race provides this sort of contrast with President Obama on jobs and the economy.
With the market just tanking today and the jobs figures for July coming out tomorrow, this is a timely video from Students for Perry, indeed.
VIDEO: Planking, Nyan Cat, and Higher Education Reform Facts.
Some fun planking and orchestal nyan cat mashup, with higher ed facts: