In recent years, the governor and legislature in Texas have cut billions of dollars from the budget for public education.

They have shown their priorities. By keeping taxes low, they can grow new jobs, or so they say.

But at the same time, they are destroying the public schools that prepare the next generation for citizenship and work and innovation.

A Texas colleague sent me an article to show what the cuts are doing to one small district. The Hutto school district must cut more than $1 million from its $37 million budget. A local tax increase was turned down last November. The district will go back to the voters to ask again.

The district is imposing a fee of $200 a year for students to ride the bus to school, with no break for poor kids. The district is selling advertising on the buses and licensing the right to use its mascot symbol. In April, the district laid off arts teachers, counselors, and nurses. It increased the fee for participating in extracurricular activities to $100.

Faced with endless cuts, districts are moving back to a time in our history–now seen only in very poor nations–where access to education was limited by what families can pay.

If only education reformers were as passionate about paying for education as they are about privatizing it.

Where is “Superman” when you really need him?