It’s All Over ciplined party; NR says, however, that Gordon himself is not affiliated with that When two of the three national officers of SDS \(Students for a Democratic Sothus identified, what has become of the SDS that used to be? The Student NonViolent Coordinating Committee made a farce of its name. So, now, has SDS– unless, of course, even New Republic is now a part of the bourgeois enemy. The Record Governor John Connally says, by nearly every public speech he makes in Texas, that his record will stand or fall on education. Well, OK: How does the record look? The Texas Outlook, magazine of the Texas State Teachers’ Assn., gives some of the answers in its July issue. With almost 2.6 million pupils, Texas has the third largest public school enrollment of all the states; our responsibility is heavy. Yet we spent an average of $492 per public school pupil in average daily attendance last year, compared to the $619 average for the nation. Texas ranks 33rd among the states in average salary paid all public school teachers, $6,500, compared with $7,296 in all states. Texas ranks 31st in the pupils-to-teacher ratio, 24.2 pupils per teacher. Texas is improving in the prevention of drop-outs, increasing the number of high school graduates from 1962 to 1967 by 45.3%, compared to a national average increase of 32.8%, and thus ranking 19th in this category. But this is comparative percentage improvement; when you start from as far back as Texas, such a figure is less than half the story. Last year Texas ranked 42nd among the states in drop-outs, graduating only 70.2% of the students who had started the ninth grade in 1963. Reform Now Congressman Bob Eckhardt said, in, his eulogy to Senator Robert F. Kennedy, that the black and the disadvantaged detected in his character compassion and concern, and thus he gave them hope. “They judged rightly,” Eckhardt said, “for, unless the feeling for their plight inspires a leader to the emotional pitch of indignation, there is no time limit on reform, there is no sufficient urgency. For many, reform is needed now. If they must wait they will be swept down the stream. This is why so many clung so desperately to the vibrant life that burned, in Robert Kennedy.” On the River A bunch of people floated down the broad, dam-regulated Colorado river below Austin weekend before last in about twenty canoes. For 36 miles, there was nary a billboard nor a neon sign, nothing but the waterway churning slowly, the enclosing aisles of trees, the island where we camped, meadows where we stopped to eat. On this tame and tranquil trip, however, about seven of the canoes turned over. People were in playful mood, needing to break up the hours, and ducked in and out of the low-hanging branches at the banks, sometimes miscalculating and getting turned broadside by the rather blunt current. Jumbo Atwell of Dallas, chairman of the house revenue and sales taxation Austin The best thing that can be said about the Sixtieth Legislature is that it is over. It will be remembered as the chaotic session when legislators let Governor John Connally talk them into trying annual sessions irr order to save $50 million and instead ended up spending $35 million more than the governor proposed in his original two-year appropriations bill. Hopefully the session that just ended will be remembered as the last to dump a regressive tax on consumers. The senate came close to blocking passage of the sales tax bill. Next year, with the retirement of three conservative senators and the probable addition of two liberals, the liberals will have a good chance to stop special interest legislation and maybe even pass a few bills of their own. Senate liberals, just within reach of decisive power this year, collapsed in confusion. Sometimes they unnecessarily antagonized moderate and conservative members who were willing to work with them. Senator A. M. Aikin patiently voted with the liberals on a number of tax packages, but after they all were defeated due to defections, he got mad and told them that he would just as soon cut the appropriations bill by $138 million as continue seeing tax packages killed. There were some crucial liberal finkouts, one of the most outstanding being Chet Brooks’ and Charles Wilson’s refusal to support an increase in the natural gas tax on the decisive 16-to-15 vote. It is understandable that the liberals, used to being an ineffectual minority, should make some mistakes when they finally get a chance to pass legislation. But they don’t get organized next session, they will have demonstrated themselves to be an irrelevant force in Texas politics. Except for the fact that the house, traditionally the more independent of the two bodies, has changed roles with the senate, the session was much like others in recent years. \(I’m told that liberalism committee and the author of the Texas boat safety act, was using a flat-bottom boat with a putt-putt, but even so, he and his companion, Rep. George Cook, turned over. Their boat drifted on off as they hoisted themselves into a mesquite tree. At last report, Jumbo was drafting some amendments to his boat safety law which have become necessary in the light of recent events. He proposes to make it illegal for trees to grow at the sides of Texas rivers, and is considering a speed limit on river currents. R.D. in the house reached its peak in the late fifties. Lobbyists then were mostly interested in influencing the senate, and liberals got elected to the house without much fanfare. Now the lobby concentrates on electing understanding repAs usual, a powerful few dominated the session. The appropriations bill was written by ten men behind closed doors. Under the law, the legislature is required to meet in public except when discussing personnel matters, but the appropriations conference committee made most of its decisions in private. One aggravating afternoon eight of the conferees disappeared to talk business while two remained behind in the appropriations committee room as decoys for reporters who sat waiting and doodling in empty notebooks. The conference committee added millions in appropriations to the house and senate bills, and the two bodies approved the conference bill with little protest. Thus, millions were appropriated without public hearings, without debate, with only a few legislators and a few lobbyists really knowing what was being done. The state now has a three percent sales July 12, 1968 23 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 504 West 24th Street Austin, Texas 78705 scription for: Name Street City State Zip $6 enclosed. Bill me.
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