FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Thanksgiving Delayed

by GREG MOSES

 

“Next year Lord we’d love to give thanks for everybody’s freedom and equality, but in the meantime please accept our appreciation for the fact that after you adjust for race and class, some of our kids seem not too pulled down by impossible situations.”

Such was the blessing spoken by the Texas Supreme Court this week as justices released a long-awaited school funding decision just in time for the American Winter Holiday Season.

To the wealthier school districts of Texas (known as the West Orange Cove plaintiffs) the court granted permission to raise local tax rates in behalf of educational excellence, in all the right neighborhoods.

To the rest of us, the court explained how the structure of funding in Texas does not make it impossible for poor districts to keep themselves accredited, and therefore the urgent pleadings from the poor districts for more support cannot be expected to rise to the level of constitutional concern.

In one sense it was a crisp and clear ruling, cutting through the panic arguments filed by the state in an attempt to steer the case away from the godawful facts that had impressed the trial judge. Panic arguments such as the court has no jurisdiction nor the districts proper standing were one by one dismissed. After all, the court had already issued a decade or more of school funding rulings all named Edgewood, after a famous San Antonio school system.

After cutting through the panic arguments, the court took the facts boldly in hand and said things like, sure, the buildings look like crap in these pictures, but what does that have to do with education? The kids seem to be passing, don’t they? It’s a bad situation, but it’s not that bad. One fourth of all school districts in Texas have not yet levied special taxes to support their own school buildings, so the question of the state’s obligation is beside the point.

This Thanksgiving, we can give thanks to a few attorneys and school districts who jumped into the lawsuit because they wanted to make sure the rich districts didn’t run away with the all the money. In that struggle, our longstanding heroes from Edgewood and Alvarado seem to have maintained a very costly line in the form of a warning from the Supreme Court that if things get much worse, well there has to be some limit to the amount of hypocrisy the court will publicly tolerate.

MALDEF was quick to denounce the decision as justice delayed for the children of Texas. With richer districts now able to enhance, their schools through higher local taxes than previously allowed, and with the legislature under no real court pressure to make things more equal (just don’t let them get much more unequal) the timeline for justice is matching up a little closer to that previously scheduled cold day in hell.

“In 2003, said the court, “Texas ranked last among the states in the percentage of high school graduates at least 25 years old in the population. Fully half the Hispanic students and nearly half the African-American students drop out during high school. In Texas, Black and Hispanic students are the majority. By the year 2040, these minorities, will constitute two-thirds of the population. But the cost of a just education is difficult to quantify said the court. Glaring challenges of high school literacy the court could not quite translate into a single legal reason for constitutional urgency.

There was a dissenting opinion: a heartfelt manifesto for justice through competition, duly applied to suggestions for competition between districts and more tax money for private schools.

BTW, all those anti-affirmative action voices who say we should really start equalizing education at the elementary level? There were so many of them hollering when the Hopwood case was news. Today they seem quite happy to note with the Texas Supreme Court that democracy is still good enough for constitutional purposes so long as you know how to properly adjust your expectations for differences of race and class.

Anyway, that’s the news from Texas. Dog bites kid. Pass the turkey please.

GREG MOSES is editor of the Texas Civil Rights Review and author of Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Philosophy of Nonviolence. His chapter on civil rights under Clinton and Bush appears in Dime’s Worth of Difference, edited by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair. He can be reached at: gmosesx@prodigy.net

 

 

Greg Moses writes about peace and Texas, but not always at the same time. He is author of Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Philosophy of Nonviolence. As editor of the Texas Civil Rights Review he has written about racism faced by Black agriculturalists in Texas. He can be reached at gmosesx@gmail.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
December 02, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
The Coming War on China
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The CIA’s Plots to Kill Castro
Paul Street
The Iron Heel at Home: Force Matters
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Timberg’s Tale: Washington Post Reporter Spreads Blacklist of Independent Journalist Sites
Andrew Levine
Must We Now Rethink the Hillary Question? Absolutely, Not
Joshua Frank
CounterPunch as Russian Propagandists: the Washington Post’s Shallow Smear
David Rosen
The Return of HUAC?
Rob Urie
Race and Class in Trump’s America
Patrick Cockburn
Why Everything You’ve Read About Syria and Iraq Could be Wrong
Caroline Hurley
Anatomy of a Nationalist
Ayesha Khan
A Muslim Woman’s Reflections on Trump’s Misogyny
Michael Hudson – Steve Keen
Rebel Economists on the Historical Path to a Global Recovery
Russell Mokhiber
Sanders Single Payer and Death by Democrat
Roger Harris
The Triumph of Trump and the Specter of Fascism
Steve Horn
Donald Trump’s Swamp: Meet Ten Potential Energy and Climate Cabinet Picks and the Pickers
Louis Proyect
Deepening Contradictions: Identity Politics and Steelworkers
Ralph Nader
Trump and His Betraying Makeover
Stephen Kimber
The Media’s Abysmal Coverage of Castro’s Death
Dan Bacher
WSPA: The West’s Most Powerful Corporate Lobbying Group
Nile Bowie
Will Trump backpedal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership?
Ron Ridenour
Fidel’s Death Brings Forth Great and Sad Memories
Missy Comley Beattie
By Invitation Only
Fred Gardner
Sword of Damocles: Pot Partisans Fear Trump’s DOJ
Renee Parsons
Obama and Propornot
Dean Baker
Cash and Carrier: Trump and Pence Put on a Show
Jack Rasmus
Taming Trump: From Faux Left to Faux Right Populism
Ron Jacobs
Selling Racism—A Lesson From Pretoria
Julian Vigo
The Hijos of Buenos Aires:  When Identity is Political
Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano
By Way of Prologue: On How We Arrived at the Watchtower and What We Saw from There
Dave Lindorff
Is Trump’s Idea To Fix the ‘Rigged System’ by Appointing Crooks Who’ve Played It?
Aidan O'Brien
Fidel and Spain: A Tale of Right and Wrong
Carol Dansereau
Stop Groveling! How to Thwart Trump and Save the World
Kim Nicolini
Moonlight, The Movie
Evan Jones
Behind GE’s Takeover of Alstom Energy
James A Haught
White Evangelicals are Fading, Powerful, Baffling
Barbara Moroncini
Protests and Their Others
Joseph Natoli
The Winds at Their Backs
Cesar Chelala
Poverty is Not Only an Ignored Word
David Swanson
75 Years of Pearl Harbor Lies
Alex Jensen
The Great Deceleration
Nyla Ali Khan
When Faith is the Legacy of One’s Upbringing
Gilbert Mercier
Trump Win: Paradigm Shift or Status Quo?
Stephen Martin
From ‘Too Big to Fail’ to ‘Too Big to Lie’: the End Game of Corporatist Globalization.
Charles R. Larson
Review: Emma Jane Kirby’s “The Optician of Lampedusa”
David Yearsley
Haydn Seek With Hsu
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail