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« January 2013 | WILLisms.com | March 2013 »

Texas School Choice

Saturday at the Texas Capitol, the education anti-reform reform movement met on the South Steps to complain about innovative reform ideas and advocate for more spending and bureaucracy. I snapped some photos that can be found here. And here is a sampling of the kinds of people who were out to promote higher taxes and doubling down on the status quo:

Lots of "Occupy" and teacher union signs throughout the crowd.
Lots of socialists and socialist signs throughout the crowd, as well.
And class warfare.
And people openly advocating for higher taxes and/or an income tax in Texas.

As per the usual journalistic practice, the establishment media whitewashed these sentiments from their coverage of the rally (a rally which frankly felt a lot smaller and lower energy than the same rally in years past).

Earlier in the day, the Texas Public Policy Foundation held its own press conference on the other side of the Capitol, along with individuals from Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, Empower Texans, Americans For Prosperity - Texas, the American Federation for Children, the Waco Tea Party, and Texans for Parental Choice in Education, among others.

I set up my video camera and took some video of the event:

And lots of photos here.

A few good resources for education reform, some of which were mentioned in the press conference:

The Red Apple Project.

Protect the Classroom.

Texas Classrooms First.

Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts: "Your Money and Local Debt" and "Financial Allocation Study for Texas (FAST)"

And of course, the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

The Comptroller has some facts that-- again, per the usual journalistic practice of the day-- rarely make it into the public square. For example, here's what public school spending has done in Texas over the past decade or so:

K-12 schools alone receive about 43.7 percent of Texas’ general revenue, twice the share of Medicaid, which accounts for 21.6 percent of all general revenue appropriations.

Spending itself:


Expenditures versus enrollment:


Spending per pupil:


Spending per pupil versus inflation:


Meanwhile, over the past decade, both local property taxes and local debt have skyrocketed; Texas school districts’ spending on debt service has grown 160 percent, much faster than all other portions of school budgets.

Moreover, while school districts are constructing Taj Mahals, investing in bricks and bells and whistles rather than students and teachers and actual classroom instruction, they've also been busy hiring non-teaching staff and administrators at six-figure salaries. Only about half of public school employees are now teachers, and since 2004, the number of kids in public schools has increased 7%, while the number of non-teaching support and administrative personnel has risen 20%. Indeed, Texas has 17% more teachers than California, with 295 education employees per 10,000 people, compared to California’s 252.

Texas spends ample dollars on education. Our schools actually outperform schools in high-spending states in terms of reading scores, math scores, science scores, dropout rates, and so forth, but being better than horrible schools in the rest of the country doesn't mean our schools are good enough, or that they will be good enough for the future. It just means that the "Texas ranks 48th" in this or that spending category tripe is meaningless.

School reform, yes. Dumping more money into a bloated educracy and continually taking on more debt and perpetually jacking up property taxes, no.

Posted by Will Franklin · 24 February 2013 10:28 AM · Comments (0)

Texas Getting Under California's Skin.

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 965 -- Gone To Texas-

California's latest self-inflicted gunshot wound to the foot, a punitive tax on successful individuals, only kinda-sorta works if there is nowhere else for successful Californians to go.

But you know what?

Californians are still Americans, and Americans have this wonderful right to vote with their feet and move themselves, their families, and their businesses where they have the best opportunities to live the American Dream.

Over the past decade, droves of Californians have moved to Texas. Waves of them. And it isn't exactly despondent Grapes of Wrath types moving to Texas, either. It has been some of California's best, brightest, and most successful people. They're leaving Eden-like California-- easily America's best climate-- and moving to freedom-friendly places like Texas with their money, their ideas, and their companies.

Take Los Angeles County, for example:


The blue lines indicate net inmigration to Los Angeles, from the Northeast. The red lines indicate outmigration from Los Angeles. There's a lot of red heading to Texas in this graphic.

Indeed, close to a hundred Californians move to Texas every single day:

According to Internal Revenue Service data, net migration from California to other states totaled 865,444 people from 2004 to 2010, the highest in the nation.

Think of it this way: The equivalent of the entire city of San Francisco packed up and left California in six years -- and that’s with taxes lower than they will be under Proposition 30.

Where are the Californians going? For the most part, it’s to states with lower individual income taxes. Texas, a state with no income tax, leads as a destination, with a net inflow from California of 185,122 people from 2004 to 2010, the IRS data say.

Nearly a quarter million Californians, with more than four billion dollars in aggregate income, moved to Texas in the last decade.

These are profound numbers, and behind the numbers are some incredible individual stories of people uprooting their lives and choosing places where they know they won't be taxed and regulated out of house and home. One of the most successful professional golfers of all time, Californian Phil Mickelson, is not unique in his thinking that it may be time for a change.

Where California is punishing success, some see opportunity. Texas Governor Rick Perry recently recorded a radio ad to recruit oppressed Californians to Texas. The $24,000 ad, paid for privately with TexasOne funds rather than taxpayer dollars, pokes at California and invites potential refugees to look at Texas.

[You can listen to audio of the ad here; text here.]

Needless to say, it got under California Governor Jerry Brown's skin, as RedState's Moe Lane noted. In sports terms, Texas is completely in his head. In response to the ad, Brown suggested it was "barely a fart," propelling the ad to even more enormous exposure, then argued that because it was only $24 thousand and not $25 million, presumably twenty-five million government dollars, it shouldn't be taken seriously.

$25,000,000.00? Seriously?

Doesn't that just epitomize the difference between how things are done in California and Texas? Texas can take 24 thousand private bucks, tell its story, and generate this enormous amount of publicity on social media platforms, in newspapers, on local news stations across California, on Bill O'Reilly, at water coolers, and elsewhere, likely all worth many millions of dollars in advertising bang.

Isn’t this just a perfect example of how all too many California politicians think you have to spend your way to success; meanwhile, Texas does things smarter, better, at a lower cost.

While Jerry Brown offered only a frazzled, juvenile response, some California liberals have sincerely attempted to defend the broken California model and impugn the successful Texas model. Chuck DeVore, former Californian and current Texan, rebutted some of the volleys.

The thing about myths, and the thing about reality, is that ultimately, reality wins.

Here's an example.

Rachel Maddow spent time snarking out on the Sacramento paper's suggestion that Californians should have a book drive to help Texas with its poor education.

One problem with that snark. It's based on a myth. And here's the reality:

click graphic for larger version

On 8th grade reading (and math, and science, and other disciplines-- and other grades), Texas outperforms California, despite California spending more than Texas on its education system. That goes for Texas' white kids versus California's white kids, Texas' black kids versus California's black kids, and Texas' Hispanic kids versus California's Hispanic kids.

Again, is it about the dollar figure, or is it about the result?

Moreover, Texas outperforms the rest of the country among white, black, and Hispanic kids, while California underperforms the nation in each category.

And if we're focusing on dropouts specifically, Texas recently ranked #1 for white, black, and Asian graduation rates, #2 for Hispanics and economically disadvantaged students, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Texas beats California among each and every group:

click graphic for larger version

Every. Single. Category.

Again, the reality is that the left's fear mongering about Texas' allegedly dilapidated education system is just not supported by the numbers. More importantly, people aren't buying the myth. Those hundreds of thousands of Californians leaving their state and heading to Texas know better. Individuals simply wouldn't be packing up and moving to Texas if they really thought their kids were going to end up losers in the deal. Businesses wouldn't set up shop in Texas if they felt like the workforce wasn't going to be educated and skilled. Again, reality is winning in this argument, no matter how much smug leftist "journalists" invest in convincing themselves it not to be so.

The reality is that businesses and successful individuals will continue to migrate away from California and toward Texas:

Indeed, California regulates, Texas innovates:



Previous Trivia Tidbit: Texas Versus California On Welfare Spending.

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Posted by Will Franklin · 7 February 2013 03:30 PM · Comments (0)