Robin Hood and the Chronicle

In the past six weeks, the Houston Chronicle has twice urged voters to vote against Proposition 1. The paper opposes the proposition because it will require Houston Independent School District (HISD) trustees to send taxpayer money to the state under the “Robin Hood” provisions of the Texas Education Code.

The Chronicle isn’t opposed to the Robin Hood provision:

If the provision worked like a true Robin Hood, it would “rob” from the rich and “give” to the poor….

In an ironic twist, that budget deficit will end up hurting the very students that Robin Hood is supposed to help. More than 75 percent of HISD students are disadvantaged. It is a sign of our bizarre and busted school finance system that the district with the largest number of poor families will have to give away critically needed resources.

The editorial board isn’t opposed to robbery. They just don’t like it when the theft occurs close to home.

But the real issue isn’t how to fund government schools. The real issue is whether government schools should even exist.

The debate over funding for government schools has been raging for decades in Texas. Poor school districts complain that they don’t have enough money, and wealthier school districts complain when they are forced to subsidize the poorer ones. For decades, legislators have struggled to find a solution that is fair and equitable. They have yet to succeed, and they never will if they continue to hold on to the idea of government schools.

By the very nature of government schools, any scheme to finance them will be unfair.

Government schools are financed through taxes, and those taxes are collected from all taxpayers–including those who don’t have children. Childless taxpayers, as well as those whose children have grown, are forced to pay for the education of others’ children.

How is this fair to the young couple struggling to save for their first home? How is this fair to the couple who put off having children because they can’t afford it? How is this fair to the elderly struggling to live on a fixed income?

The Chronicle would like us to believe that HISD deserves tax dollars more than the state. But as a matter of justice, tax dollars belong to those who earned them. It is unfair to take their money for purposes they may not support.

It would be a lot easier to take the Chronicle seriously if they proposed a solution that would actually be fair. But they won’t, because the paper isn’t interested in justice. If it were, it wouldn’t support robbery. In truth, the Chronicle is only interested in pushing the progressive agenda of robbing from the rich and giving to the poor.

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