Page 12


The Texas Observer RADIO DEBATE SERIES ON EDUCATION RICH SCHOOLS, POOR SCHOOLS: Time to Share the Wealth? Join us at 7:30 p.m. on June 6 when Kevin O’Hanlon, Assistant Attorney General S. Don Rogers, Superintendent, Eanes Independent School District Craig Foster, Executive Director, The Equity Center Rick Gray attorney, Gray and Becker face off on the question of school finance equalization. The debate will be broadcast live from Austin’s Scholz Garten on KLBJ-AM 590. Audience participation encouraged. Information for Historians, Researchers, Nostalgia Buffs, & Observer Fans Bound Volumes: The 1987 bound issues of The Texas Observer are now ready. In maroon, washable binding, the price is $30. Also available at $30 each are volumes of the Observer for each year since 1963. Cumulative Index: The clothbound cumulative edition of The Texas Observer Index covering the years 1954-1970 may be obtained for $20. The 1971-1981 cumulative edition is Back Issues: Issues dated January 10. 1963, to the present are available at $3 each. Earlier issues are out of stock, but photocopies of articles from issues dated December 13, 1954 through December 27, 1962 will be provided at $2 per article. Microfilm: The complete backfile dividual years may be ordered separately. To order, or to obtain additional information, please write to Univ. Microfilms Intl., 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106. to the Observer Business Office. Prices include sales tax and postage. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 307 W. 7th ST. AUSTIN 78701 from state funds. Graduate students at Texas A&M, for example, have not been receiving this benefit. And Texas A&M lobbyists, for instance, are not going to sit around and let UT gain a legal advantage on this point. So it’ll be legal state money for all graduate students or none at all. A very rough price tag on a biennial appropriation for statewide benefits would run into eight figures. Which brings us back to a Legislature weary of the demands of higher education. After all, they’ll say, in the halls of the Capitol, didn’t the Select Committee on Higher Education take care of y’all last time around? At which point it will be time to recall how select the Select Committee was \(see TO, With legislative relief such a distant possibility, it is doubly disconcerting to see Cunningham sit so tightly on his local funds. According to his current interpretation of Texas law, it would be criminal for the University to provide insurance benefits to its employees. One isn’t sure which is more amazing: a state where insurance benefits are illegal or a college president who won’t spend local funds to save a dying benefit for his graduate students. And why should UT and University of Houston students see their benefits restored? Because there is a difference between moving forward and stepping backward. The cancellation of benefits is a backward step, a concession wrung out of the most marginal of state employees, and a blow to the ability of both universities to recruit the ablest young researchers and scholars. One simply cannot argue that a cut in benefits will make these schools more competitive. What’s to be done? First, UT and UH officials should dedicate local funds to graduate student benefits. Second, the Legislature should add to its agenda the question of benefits. As graduate students, we’ll have to spend the summer doing homework on our situation; if the data make the case, let the state of Texas face up to the costs of improving our lot, no matter which school we work for. It must be obvious to all of us that the skirmishes of the past weeks have not encouraged productive scholarship. The sooner we can all get back to our research and teaching the better we’ll be able to say that we’re making the best use of our resources. And that will be good news for Texas. LI 12 JUNE 3, 1988