Harris County: Layers on Layers of Bureaucracy

“We must raise taxes so the public education system can survive! It’s for the children!” – is an all-too-common rationale heard screeching from government entities across the nation, lately.

Last year, San Antonio mayor Julian Castro proposed a plan to create a new layer of educational bureaucracy by increasing the local sales tax to “educate the city’s ‘at-risk’ four year olds.” (A task typically handled by…school districts.)

Early To Rise
Harris County now wants to add yet another layer of money-grabbing bureaucracy...'for the children!'

Now, Harris County has come up with a new layer of educational bureaucracy all their own – “for the children!” That is, a new layer on top of the multiple layers of educational bureaucracy already in existence in Harris County – ie. the Harris Country Department of Education on top of all of Houston’s school districts.

The HCDE probably should have been dissolved with the creation of 17 school districts in the 1920s; however, like any government agency, they expanded…naturally.

Next on this pile of money-grabbing layers would be a program called “Early to Rise.” A new proposal the Citizens for School Readiness and Harris County School Readiness Corporation are hoping to get onto the ballot. The plan is to “create a dedicated funding stream for improving the quality of [the] area’s early childhood education by levying a 1 penny tax increase per $100 of home value.”

The stated goal of this new property tax increase is to give “training and assistance” to pre-school programs and parents, and in turn, children will enter kindergarten “motivated, curious and excited about school.” And, it is projected the tax increase will yield approximately $25 million per year, which would be overseen by the Harris County School Readiness Corporation.

Similar to the San Antonio proposal by Castro, these groups are gearing up to spend other people’s money to do things that are already possible.

It has become increasingly clear that throwing more and more tax dollars at public education is not increasing academic achievement, despite the report from the White House last year, which suggested that without a tremendous infusion of tax dollars, the public education system would simply crumble.

Incessant spending and tax increases have not produced equal improvements in education performance. Instead of creating new levels of bureaucracy, government should be working to empower academic freedom, something over 84% of Texas Republican primary voters said they wanted more of in May of 2012.

There should be greater accountability over how our tax dollars are spent rather than, and especially before, implementing more tax hikes.

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