Last week the Houston Chronicle endorsed Democrat Jerry Simoneaux over longtime, highly regarded Judge Rory Olsen.
A little research indicates a number of items that mislead readers. First, to call Mr. Simoneaux a longtime practitioner of probate law is a significant stretch. A simple search reveals that in 13 years he has handled the grand total of less than 15 cases!
Mr. Simoneaux also faces a serious lawsuit from a guardian regarding, "failure to handle J.S.'s Guardianship... by not using ordinary care in preparing, managing and prosecuting J.S.'s guardianship." And by doing so, the suit claims due to inaction by Simoneaux and his co-defendants the estate of J.S. was looted.
You'll notice the Chronicle failed to tell that story too. And the vapid reason not to endorse Judge Olsen? They say at age 65, "he is slowing down." Age discrimination from the Chronicle! One other thing they didn't tell us, Judge Olsen has the lowest active docket of any of the four probate courts (all who work hard) and he is on pace to dispose of approximately the same number of cases in 2014 as he has for all his years on the bench. Maybe the Chronicle needs a do over.
How About This? The Economist Says Higher Teacher Pay And Smaller Classes Are Not
The Best Education Policies
In a recent edition of The Economist there is a report regarding cutting edge research, which says in comparison to the world, "Taking into account teachers' pay, class sizes and pupils' PISA scores, the former Soviet-bloc countries, notably the Czech Republic and Hungary, are highly efficient. The Mediterranean countries - Greece, Portugal, and Spain - are strikingly not. America's pricey schools system disappoints in both efficiency and outcomes. Elsewhere in the prosperous Anglosphere, Australia and New Zealand both do better."
And here is the fascinating results, which should cause the "let's throw more money at education" crowd to rethink, "The link between results and teachers' pay is surprisingly weak." An experienced Finnish teacher earns an average of $42,800. But Switzerland pays teachers at the same point in their careers $68,000, and though it gets creditable math results, coming ninth out of 65 in the most recent PISA assessment in 2012, it does much less well in reading and science... . Education spending depends not only on what teachers earn, but on how many of them there are - and in many places that number is rising, as rich countries cut class sizes in hopes that children will learn more...
. But again, the data provide little support. Both Korea and Finland have high pupil-teacher ratios (third and fifth highest of the 30 countries GEMS studied, respectively). France and Norway, with few pupils per teacher even by rich-world standards, trail in the rankings, coming 25th and 30th in PISA 2012.
Now it is true that at a higher level we find, "Only when classes become truly unwieldy do outcomes seem to suffer: along with Brazil, the other country with a higher pupil-teacher ratio than Korea is Chile, which also has poor results. Adam Still of GEMS thinks that many of the highest spenders have probably passed "peak efficiency" - the point at which more money brings diminishing returns."
In conclusion, Andreas Schleicher, the researcher who oversees PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment - a think tank that focuses on education) described what the research has demonstrated. "Quality of teachers has a clearer impact than class size," says Schleicher. "A rich country may decide to pay teachers well in order to get the best graduates into schools or to underscore its esteem for the profession. Giving teachers plenty of support as they enter the classroom, and continuing their training throughout their careers, will be more effective than increasing their numbers - and cheaper."
TCR Comment: Reform of Education in Texas needs to include the above revelations. We have work to do.
Are Greg Abbott & Dan Patrick On To Something? Don't Waste Your Time With Left Wing Editorial Boards
One of the decisions made this cycle by Republican nominees for Governor Greg Abbott and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick was to not go to editorial board meetings regarding endorsements.
The reason they have not participated was because of liberal bias in many editorial boards in major Texas cities.
If one takes the time to review the endorsements, there is a disturbing pattern: endorsing Republicans only when a Democratic candidate is weak. Sophomoric reasoning to justify not endorsing GOP incumbents with a record of accomplishment. In many instances, ignoring shocking levels of inexperience, or not endorsing GOP judicial candidates who support traditional marriage, which is the current law of Texas. Using age discrimination to attack GOP judges aged 65 or older, but not Democratic ones and on and on; and when they endorse GOP candidates they always seem to say the Democratic candidate is good too and should run again.
In a world where there is a plethora of ways to evaluate candidates, editorial boards are increasingly irrelevant to most voters.
Abbott and Patrick were right not to go, and it's an idea all Republicans should follow.
Surprising Agreement On The Border Crisis
In the race for Lieutenant Governor of Texas, there are issues that divide and some that unite. Regarding the border issue there is an emerging consensus between Republican Dan Patrick and Democrat Leticia Van de Putte.
In the spring, Patrick was attacked for shedding light on the porous border issue by Democrats, including his opponent.
Now months later with Patrick proven right, Van de Putte is sounding a little different. Now she says we need to control the border and help impacted border county law enforcement, she now she says Washington has failed to control the border. Now she says we should encourage legal immigration.
So, better late than never, and we at TCR look forward to Senator Van de Putte working with Lieutenant Governor Patrick on this issue. A nation is not a nation if it doesn't control its borders, wherever they are. And the discussion about what to do about the millions of illegals in the U.S. should not begin until we have achieved a halt in illegal immigration in the U.S. via our borders.
Richard Parker's Forthcoming Book
"Lone Star Nation"
In a forthcoming book, Richard Parker predicts that "Texas... will remake the American experience in the twenty-first century... with surprising economic, political and social consequences."
Parker says the coming political shift is unmistakable, "in Houston, 83 percent of residents favor a legal path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Six in ten say abortion is morally wrong but oppose making it harder for women to get one."
"Not only did Harris County vote for Barack Obama in 2008, but in 2012 it was joined by all of Texas' big urban counties and cities, which Democrats have controlled for years. Republican strength is on the wane in some of those key suburbs too. The Republican margin in Fort Bend County shrank in 2012 from double digits to just six points."
And Parker predicts, "None of this is to say that Ms. Davis will win - but she might. And four years from now, she, or another candidate, will have an even easier time. No, that dusky sky up there is not blue. It is still burnt orange - but with quite a bit of purple."
TCR Comment: That is why a big turnout from conservatives is critical, and it is doubly important to vote down ballot so critical offices like District Attorney in Harris County, Devon Anderson, and the many hard working GOP judges, are elected.
RIP Tom Lotz
Tom Lotz recently passed away at age 78. Tom was a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army. He received the Bronze Star and other important medals.
The Tom Lotz your Editor knew was active in the Harris County Republican Party, and Chief of Staff to the late Joe Roach, former Houston City Councilman.
Tom was a great American leader with great wit. He will be missed.
TCR on the Air
Red, White & Blue featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland, liberal commentator David Jones and moderator Linda Lorelle on Fridays at 7:30 pm on PBS Houston Channel 8.1, replaying Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. on Channel 8.1, Mondays at 11:30 pm on Channel 8.2 and on the web at www.houstonpbs.org.
Dan Patrick, Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor.
Mike Collier, Democratic Candidate for Texas Comptroller.
Sam Houston, Democratic Candidate for Attorney General.
The current show as well as past shows are available on YouTube.
About Your Editor
Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chairman. During his three terms, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events - The National Conservative Weekly. He is in his fifteenth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last thirteen years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. As a public service for the last 11 years, Gary has published election guides for the GOP primary, general elections and city elections, all with the purpose of assisting conservative candidates. Gary is also in his 14th year of co-hosting Red, White and Blue on PBS Houston, longest running political talk show in Texas history. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.