Fact-checking group disputes Dan Patrick’s claim about education funding, cites ATPE

A national fact-checking group recently chided Sen. Dan Patrick, a candidate for Texas Lieutenant Governor, for making false claims about having worked to restore public education funding in 2013. PolitiFact is a website run by news journalists who research the validity of claims made by candidates and elected officials. PolitiFact gauges the accuracy of claims using its “Truth-O-Meter” ratings and reserves the lowest rating of “Pants on Fire” for claims it deems to be “the most ridiculous falsehoods.”

In 2011, the Texas Legislature cut $5.4 billion in public education funds out of the state’s budget. Sen. Patrick was among those who voted for the cuts and opposed using money in the state’s Rainy Day Fund to offset them. With an improved financial outlook in 2013, legislators had an opportunity to restore some of the money that had been cut the previous session.

Last month, Sen. Patrick issued a written statement claiming that during the 2013 legislative session he had “led the charge to restore most of the education cuts” made in 2011. PolitiFact rated Patrick’s statement as a “Pants on Fire” claim, citing numerous credible sources, including an interview with ATPE Lobbyist Josh Sanderson.

Contrary to Patrick’s own assertion, evidence showed that he ultimately voted against the final 2013 appropriations bill that increased public education funding by $3.4 billion. Additionally, he authored legislation to limit state appropriations and require any future state surplus funds to go toward property tax relief, rather than for education or other needs. Another Patrick proposal in 2013 was a constitutional amendment that would have exempted certain residences from property taxes, thereby reducing the amount of revenue generated for public education. As further proof that Patrick was not interested in finding more money for public schools, Patrick also filed “mandate relief” legislation in 2013 to make it easier for school districts to lay off employees, reduce teachers’ salaries, and hire fewer teachers by increasing class sizes.

Patrick made it abundantly clear both before and throughout the 2013 legislative session that his education priorities for that session were changing school accountability laws, including imposing an A-through-F grading system for schools; increasing the number of charter schools; expanding “school choice” through public and private school vouchers; changing the state’s graduation plans to emphasize workforce readiness; and expanding virtual learning options. ATPE is unaware of any instance in which restoring the funding for public schools that had been slashed in 2011 was mentioned as a legislative priority for Patrick, who served as Chair of the Senate Education Committee during the 2013 session. As Sanderson told the PolitiFact reporters, Patrick “never responded positively” to proposals to increase education funding last year.

Currently, Patrick is the Republican party’s nominee for Lieutenant Governor in the upcoming November election, having defeated incumbent Lieutenant Gov. David Dewhurst in a primary election earlier this year. An email from the Dan Patrick campaign on Sept. 10 indicates that his education focus has not changed dramatically in the last year; the email identifies his education-related priorities as “providing more school choice”; “stopping Common Core,” the national curriculum standards that are already outlawed in Texas; “spending more efficiently”; and “expanding career and technology courses.” On the subject of education funding, Patrick adds in his campaign email, “We don’t need to throw more money at the problem; we need to use existing resources more efficiently.”

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3 thoughts on “Fact-checking group disputes Dan Patrick’s claim about education funding, cites ATPE

  1. Barbara Carter

    I agree whole heartily with Patrick’s statement “We don’t need to throw more money at the problem; we need to use existing resources more efficiently.” The thinking that more money will solve the problem is the same mind set as the Federal Government and what has that accomplished? The Texas Education System is definitely flawed, but pouring more money into a broken system is not going to correct the problem.

    Being realistic about want a student really needs to be taught to go forward in life is the key. Trying to MAKE all students college material creates a student who hates school and learning, a student who thinks he or she is dumb and most of all an insecure adult. Requiring students to study as if they plan on making a career out of every subject is also setting them up for failure and creates adults not ready for the real world.

    Thank you.
    I for one will be voting for Patrick.

  2. Allan Griffin

    I understand completely your support for not “throwing more money at the problem.” Unfortunately, that simply is not the case. The year the $5+ billion went away, enrollment in public schools in Texas continued to grow. Those who wish to destroy public education, like Dan Patrick, will spout numbers indicating the increasing budgets for public education while not once recognizing the increases in enrollments year after year, the new mandates for testing, increased costs of operations and facilities, etc. He will also tout the need for more voucher programs and other schemes to take funds away from the public system which has no relief from the burden of educating every child no matter the cost.

    I do wish you would consider taking the same stand against the ridiculous waste of dollars on National Guard troops on the border. Dan Patrick totally reflects the distorted priorities of Texas politicians–cut school budgets and tell people ISIS is swimming across the Rio Grande. That is not will make Texas the shining star it should be!

    Until the leadership in Austin returns to individuals who place a higher value on the importance of public education (think free Pre-K for all), free public roadways (not toll roads for your cronies to profit from), adequate health care (we are always near the bottom in caring for our weakest), higher graduation rates (with creative programs for those who are not bound for college) Texas will continue to see our rank in quality of life surveys decline.

    Selling Texas as a great place for business is vitally important. But if those businesses come here and find the schools inadequate or the roads system overcrowded or destroyed by “fracking trucks” or the public health system overwhelmed by a lack of state support then those same companies will change their address again.

    I cannot say this strongly enough, I will not be voting for Dan Patrick with his “pants on fire” and I pray enough Texans do their research to know what they will get if they put him in the Lt. Governor’s powerful seat.

  3. Bonnie Millican

    Dan Patrick is a dangerous man to put in charge of anything. I hope that educators in Texas will do their job and read about this man before they go vote. The “throwing money at the problem” mantra has been repeated ad nauseam by those with deep pockets who would stand to profit from vouchers for private education. Public schools take all comers, making it a more democratic way to educate all our youngsters. We do need to step back and look at more vocational training but we don’t need to chuck the whole system to do that. We are smart enough in this state to prepare those students who want to go to college and those who want to go straight to work. Our schools are not “broken.” They have been distorted and twisted by the whims of the people in the legislature who have no clue what their mandates do to the effort to educate our students. People like Dan Patrick dance to the tune of those who would shutter all our public schools if they could. The man is dangerous.
    Bonnie Millican


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