Friday, May 13, 2016

Yeah, we think he's pretty stupid, too

Once again, with feeling:  Dan Patrick can't do this.

In a news conference this morning, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick responded to a letter the Obama administration sent to every public school district in the country, which tells schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom and locker rooms that match their chosen gender identity.

The letter warned that schools that do not comply may face lawsuits or loss of federal aid.

"This will be the end of public education, if this prevails," Patrick said. "People will pull their kids out, homeschooling will explode, private schools will increase."

Patrick asserted that it should be up to individual school districts to accommodate students, and schools shouldn't be forced to obey a mandate from the federal government.

He said that he will direct superintendents in Texas not to obey the administration's request.

Patrick pointed out that Obama's threat about pulling funding from schools that do not comply is just that - a threat.

He added that even if the administration follows through and pulls funding, it wouldn't take effect right away, so that's why he's suggesting school administrators stay the course for the last few weeks of this school year.
Independent school districts are INDEPENDENT.  The Lite Guv. has no authority over them, except as a voting member of the Senate.  And he's being disingenuous to say public schools only get federal dollars for free lunches for poor students.  Student loans, PELL grants, etc., all affect public schools, too.  We call those public schools "universities," and Texas has a lot of them.  And yea, Dan Patrick thinks he can make this happen, and it's a good thing:

The result of forfeiting the $10 billion currently flowing from the U.S. government to schools and public universities in Texas could leave thousands of college students without a way to pay tuition, grind to a halt a majority of research taking place on the campuses, and leave low-income children without support for meals. 

State colleges in Texas are more dependent than ever on the federal government, since the state government has cut appropriations year after year.   As Huffington Post noted:  "Experts widely believe most public colleges [in Texas] could not survive without federal funding."  Dan Patrick is a braying jackass.

Besides, people are already pulling their kids out of public schools when they can.  Public schools don't close because the enrollment goes down, and private schools don't open to take up the slack and any spare tax dollars laying around.  Parents who don't like Obama's directive under Title IX will have to find the wherewithal to afford private school, a private school that will accept their special snowflake, or the time and energy to homeschool.

Patrick has gone so far as to say Texas schools will just do without federal funds subject to Title IX.   Again: not his call.  He isn't the education czar for the state of Texas, and the idea he's going to find  the $10 billion Texas could lose is absolutely laughable.  As Lite Guv., all he really does is preside over the Senate.  He may rally his Senate loonies in the next session, but the House is, by comparison, much more pragmatic; and support for giving up $10 billion in federal education funding is not going to be all that popular in 2017.

Of course, if he keeps this up, it might energize the college age voters Bernie has been inspiring, and get them to turn out in Texas and vote against such stupidity for once.

So this is his 15 minutes on the national stage.  (And I do appreciate the White House telling Patrick to sit down and shut up.  Because honestly, if you can get beat down by CNN, your 15 minutes are over.)


  1. Is anybody appalled by how both sides are acting in this thing?

    Of course I understand the need to accomodate transgender students. But the federal government's simply sending out mandates on pain of education cuts seems crazy. It invites demagoguery in response. It takes no account of the novelty of this issue for most ordinary people and what seem to me to be perfectly reasonable concerns about ordinary sexual privacy. And it does this in an election year when the pundits are running around wondering, "What's everybody so upset about?'

    Why not a balanced, legislative solution, with compromise, as part of the democratic process? We seem no longer capable of such a thing, only the assertion of the the clash of absolutes.

  2. It is not, I trust, argumentative to point out this "bathroom" argument started in Houston, as a response to the HERO ordinance that would have required the City of Houston to treat LGBT persons equitably (since Texas affords no such protection and the protections of the Civil Rights Act, despite the use of it by Loretta Lynch in North Carolina, is not that strong for LGBT issues). And that issues was outrageous, ridiculous, over-the-top, and completely reckless. It was, ab initio, demagoguery.

    And it seemed to work, so it was nationalized. The letter from the DOE is not a new statement of things that must be done or else; it is guidelines on how to treat the transgendered equitably, a treatment more than one federal court has required more than one school district to comply with. It does not require changes in anything, just proper treatment of students, who should be the paramount concern of any school district (even the students who get in trouble for disciplinary problems, i.e., the "bad" kids).

    So I can't take the "middle ground" here and declare a pox on both houses. The fears of the public restroom being invaded by Vandals and Visigoths is ludicrous. The fears of small children being exposed to improper anatomies too early in life is also facetious.

    And a "balanced legislative solution, with compromise"? Have you been asleep these past 8 years? Do you think such a thing is possible on an issue like this? Where? In Erewhon?

  3. " Where? In Erewhon?"

    In any functioning democracy.

    And yes, I've been here, and seen what as a Democrat I think is largely the fault of Republicans. But if the response again is a judicial overruling of the legislative then democracy is further eroded. And the less the people are trusted to eventually make their way to a correct decision, the more they just kick back by supporting a git like Trump.

    This may just be my own paranoia, thinking, with many others, "Can this guy really win this election?" And then I think, "My God, yes, with enough hybris, anything can happen."

  4. True enough; there is no system which will save us from ourselves.

    But as Ashleigh Banfield pointed out, the version of the letter Dan Patrick responded to doesn't actually exist.

    Most of our public discourse is driven by outrage against something that is purely imaginary, like predators in bathrooms and violations of privacy against the majority. Oh, and the heavy hand of Washington.