Monday, August 07, 2006


Jiminy creepers, but things got out of hand last week when education advocate Peyton Wolcott started asking questions at a San Antonio public school district that had just received some bad news about its test scores. She was detained by three armed policemen, among other outrages.

Now, I’m a longtime reporter, and I’ve met with some challenges in trying to get my questions answered before. A guy once grabbed me by the arm and walked me, fast, back out to my car. Another one hinted about a car bomb. I’ve been hot-boxed in offices so that I couldn’t get away, and left cooling my heels in waiting rooms for hours by people hoping I’ll give up and go away. But I’ve never, ever endured such a reprehensible overreaction as this education advocate did last week – and especially not by a public servant whose salary is paid by taxpayers.

Note that the district that did this, Edgewood Independent School District of San Antonio, is the district that caused the 1984 Texas Supreme Court ruling that led to what’s widely called “the Robin Hood” system of school financing – take from the rich and give to the poor. That’s what the Omaha Public Schools’ lawsuit against Nebraska taxpayers is trying to get going.

But the main thing that came out of Edgewood ISD v. Kirby is NOT equitable school financing – it’s proof that throwing more money at failing schools in poor neighborhoods doesn’t work. Despite receiving far more than its share of public financing for more than 20 years, Edgewood has recently been termed "Academically Unacceptable."

Here’s what happened to my colleague in Texas. Could it happen here? Hope not:


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