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This is Texas today. A state full of Sunbelt boosters, strident anti-unionists, oil and gas companies, nuclear weapons and power plants, political hucksters, underpaid workers and toxic wastes, to mention a few. oZ :`41.0′ -,. ‘ , ‘ ..# …..J 4 ifrl A#440–‘.,,41′” i .; ,a, , ‘411’ * t …am igo .-,,, , -7` 4-1 BUT DO NOT . DESPAIR! 41 .LTINI1 T1XAS 11Plu server TO SUBSCRIBE: Name Address City State Zip $32 enclosed for a one-year subscription. Bill me for $32. 307 West 7th, Austin, TX 78701 BY MOLLY IVINS GREAT. As if the Senate campaign swill we’re getting wasn’t enough, now we’re beset by piles of pish con cerning the May 1 vote on school financing. My favorite example of what an old teacher of mine used to call “dubious ratiocination” is the assertion that you can’t fix the schools by throwing more money at them. I don’t know what planet these people are living on, but the “Robin Hood” proposal on the May 1 ballot doesn’t involve more money for the schools. I wish it did. What the proposition does is legalize the school finance system we’re using now county education districts. A court decision declared the extant system unconstitutional, so now we have to approve a constitutional amendment to keep using it. What you’ll get from the amendment is exactly what you have now, only legal. Got it? You’re voting for the status quo. Setting aside that rather salient fact, I am enchanted by the fatuousness of the argument that you can’t improve schools by spending more on them. It must logically follow from this argument that what we need to do is cut school spending: Spend lesS, that’ll fix the schools all right. It’s true that we’re spending more on public schools now than we were 10 years ago, even granted the huge increase in enrollment, and test scores are not going up. But we’re are also asking the schools to do more now: to teach more handicapped and retarded and non-English-speaking kids. According to the U.S. Department of Education, Texas is 37th among the states in per-pupil expenditure. It’s not as though we were flooding the schools . with money. My second favorite attack on Proposition 1 is that it is not the best of all possible schoolfinancing systems. Well, kiss my grits, you don’t say. Of course it’s not, you whifflebrains. What do you think the Legislature has been tied into knots about during the last 25 years? No, this is not the best plan we could have; it’s the only one we can get. The best thing about the “Robin Hood” plan is that the Legislature passed it. No other possible combination can be gotten through Molly Ivins is a columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and a former Texas Observer editor. the Lege, as we have proved again and again and again. The only other good thing about the plan is that it is fairer than the old GilmerAikin formula. I really do hate to see partisanship raise its ugly head on this issue because it’s an even more sterile and puerile cause than usual. Apparently some Republicans think they can embarrass Governor Ann Richards by defeating the plan and closing the schools. Since Republicans have already contributed well more than their fair share to the long-running stalemate on school finance, this is an egregious misbehavior. The last GOP plan advanced in the Legislature, the “Sheriff of Nottingham” Plan \(sponsored by Representative Steve Ogden, the Republicans would vote for it. The alternatives to the “Robin Hood” plan are stark. 1. Close the schools. 2. Consolidate school districts. \(I like that plan myself, but know what weirdness is being spread about Prop. 1, but if in doubt, ask your local legislator if better can be done. Hillary Rodham Clinton \(U.S. Representative Jake Pickle says the name is nothing new, it’s just like Mary Todd Lincoln or Mamie Doud Eisenhower Jake’s been in Washington long enough to have it was a fairly wow show. I kept thinking how much the people who think they don’t like her would have liked her. The news articles about her speech naturally picked up on such grains of news as it contained, but I was far more interested in her basic themes. She spoke well and movingly and with shining sincerity about the search for meaning and community in America. Quoting Lee Atwater of all people on the need for a little heart and a lot of brotherhood,. she asked individuals to work on spiritual development. There was nothing knee-jerk about her recognitioh that all the answers lie neither in the market system nor in government, which can at best be a catalyst for a more equitable society. She said that what has startled her most about Washington is the disconnect between what we hear and have learned in the country and what we find in Washington. Not a new thought to be sure, but a sad confirmation of what we all know. Two Cheers for Robin Hood 8 APRIL 23, 1993