First I want to apologize for the lateness of today's post. I was supposed to have posted this by last Friday (3/25), but due to a hectic week and lots of prepping for this post it took me till today to get it finished. I hope you all will read it with an open mind and act on my suggestions. What I am talking about in this blog post will affect every single one of us. Now's the time to get involved, not later. Thank you for your time, I hope you all have a great week. Now for the belated blog post.
The World Is Changing…
By Terrence Cain
So how was your spring break? Have a lot of fun? Well I hope you enjoyed your time off. Not much further and this semester will be over with. With that said there is something that needs to be addressed. I don’t mean to scare you but it is something that is important to every single one of you. It’s important to you, the student, and to the professors and other employees at Howard College as well as the other colleges, universities, and public schools in Texas.
As you all may know we are still in what I am sure will be referred to as the “Great Recession” in future history books. This “Great Recession” is why I, at the age of 28, am in college for the first time. I didn’t really think I needed better education past my time in a vocational school called American Commercial College, which honestly, was a big waste of time because all I learned was how to work a computer, and that was ten years ago. Technology has changed so much that my learning became obsolete.
Now what I am writing about today is the great importance of education and the possible reduction in state and federal funding. I know I sound like a parent, and for the record I am still childless, but what I am saying is the truth. Again, I am not trying to scare anyone, but I do feel that everyone needs to know the facts. Currently the state of Texas is facing the possibility of a $27 billion dollar shortfall, although that number changes on a constant basis, that was caused by the recession that hit us in 2008 under the Bush administration. Again, these are the facts and I will have many footnotes posted throughout this blog piece so that you can look where the information has come from.
For months now; at the federal, state, and local levels, there has been talks about budget cuts to keep things running and to reduce the debt at all levels of the government. With that said; the politicians at every level of our government are making an egregious mistake by looking at making financial cuts to education. Texas state representative, Ryan Guillen (D), is proposing a bill that would give public schools (K-12) Fridays off and one hour extra to the other days they would be attending, so as you can see things look dim for education in Texas.
Some colleges are looking at their budgets to see what they may have to cut in the future after a proposal of budget cuts, both state & federal, are passed. This could mean the loss of artistic expression, sports, and many other classes that could be lost to budget cuts to colleges in the state of Texas. I hope that they don’t have to make any cuts to their classes, but colleges may have no choice.
Executive artistic director for the New York live arts, Bill T. Jones, had this to say about art and education on March 11th on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher; “Art is as important as highways and hospitals. Art is the participation of ideas in the world. We take art for granted; art teaches us about things that we cannot see. Art teaches abstract thinking, it teaches teamwork, and it teaches people about things we cannot see. Art is something we cannot take for granted. Artists change communities for the better.” I couldn’t agree with him more, which is why education is so important. Without education we wouldn’t have places to go to learn abstract thinking, or play sports, or even just discover the world at large.
Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst (R) had this to say at a legislative conference in New Braunfels, Texas; “We can still fund education, the Foundation School Program . . . at the same appropriated level we’re funding right this second, actually higher.” Senator Leticia Van de Putte (D) said this about Lt. Governor Dewhurst and his comment made at the legislative conference in New Braunfels; “I've known the Lieutenant Governor to be able to work magic before and for the sake of Texas families, he’s my number one magician right now.” Well I hope she’s right on this one because we need our government working for us more now than ever before.
Now the reason I am bringing all of this up is that changes are coming soon and it’s important that our government hears us loud and clear. I think everyone, students and professors alike, need to take interest in what is going on in the world around them. This issue has gotten so serious that there were even thousands who protested in Austin, Texas on March 12th over these proposed cuts to education, so you can see the seriousness of this issue.
I urge everyone to write to Governor Rick Perry (R), Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R), and every state Representative and Senator in the state of Texas to let them know that you want them to leave education alone. Let them know that any reduction in funding to colleges will be a disaster to your future and everyone else’s who is in college or thinking of going to college. If any drastic cuts are made to college funding, it will cause the state to lose money. I say this because people from out of state, and even the ones who live in Texas, will look for their higher education elsewhere and that means a great loss of money for restaurants, night clubs and bars, retail and even grocery stores.
At the bottom of this post I will give you some links that you can click on to go to where you can contact members of the Texas Government to and voice your concerns of budget cuts to education. It is your right as citizens of the state of Texas, and as American Citizens as well, to voice your concerns about anything your local, state, and federal government does; so I urge every single one of you to do so. We are truly in control of what our government does, so get involved and let the people know how important your education is to you and how it would ruin your future if they made any cuts to education.
Even at the federal level there are proposals being made for the possible reduction of or even total defunding of Pell Grants which makes it possible for people like me to go to college who wouldn’t get the chance to go otherwise. Cutting education out of any budget is just not the way to go. There are better ways, I assure you.
I know all of this information is scary and it leaves this thought in your mind; “What are we going to do?” As I said, go to the links below and contact the politicians in our state and let them know that education is the key to growth in revenue. The more people who graduate college means businesses will thrive because they can fill their open positions with those who trained for them.
Now I know what you’re thinking; “How is that true with unemployment being so high?” Well unemployment numbers have been steadily dropping over the last several months so things are getting better. The national unemployment level is currently at 8.9% as of February 2011, and is expected to drop yet again this month, so it is very important to keep funding for colleges at the level they are right now. Even with gas prices souring employment is gaining ground right here in West Texas.
Well that’s it for this week! Welcome back from Spring Break, everyone, I hope you all have a great remainder of this semester and I hope that you all will be back next semester as well! This is Howard College’s Blogging Machine, over and out!
Peace - Terrence
http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/Members.htm <<<Lt. Gov. Dewhurst can be contacted on this link as well>>>