Dewhurst using Enron math on school finance issue

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst continues to claim that education funding increased in 2011. According to the TEA, we are spending $600 LESS per pupil this year.

 

Chron.Com, March 27, 2012

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, a successful Houston businessman, prides himself on his fluency with numbers. When it comes to Texas public schools, however, Dewhurst mangles the one question that should come effortlessly to a good CEO: What’s the bottom line?

In Houston recently to campaign for the U.S. Senate, Dewhurst claimed the state of Texas this year appropriated more money for public education than ever before in its history. It’s technically true, in the way that Enron was technically a viable company. So here’s the real bottom line, summing up the entire financial picture: Texas public schools now have less money than ever to educate our school­children. Saying otherwise is just “balderdash,” says Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston.

“When I read that he said that, I thought, ‘There he goes again,’ ” said Coleman, expressing the collective exasperation of Texas’ education community. Like an improbable urban myth that just won’t die, the claim that schools didn’t really take a financial hit this budget cycle keeps circulating.

Speaking to the Houston Republican Jewish Coalition last week, Dewhurst assured his audience that our schools were flush with cash. “We appropriated more money for public education than we have ever appropriated in the state of Texas,” he asserted. People complaining about public school funding “have a problem with math. The facts are the facts.”

But, as any Houstonian can tell you, there’s math, and then there’s Enron Math. Here, Dewhurst is engaging in Enron Math, spotlighting one number from the state appropriations bill that doesn’t tell the whole story – just as Enron looked profitable if you didn’t know about those pesky off-balance-sheet losses.

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