This morning the U.S. Department of Education issued a letter to public school districts across the country advising them that federal law requires them to protect transgender students from discrimination and allow them to use bathrooms and locker rooms “consistent with their gender identity.” Naturally, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who has been on potty patrol every single day this week, wanted to rail against the letter and called a press conference, which started only a few minutes after the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the state’s formula for funding public schools was constitutional. That court ruling carries with it heavy implications for the state’s schools and whether they’ll be adequately funded in years to come.
You can watch Patrick’s press conference here courtesy of the Texas Tribune. Or you can save yourself some time and let us give you the highlights:
- Patrick briefly addressed the school finance ruling in his opening remarks and then spent the next 20 minutes talking about where he thinks someone should pee. You know, the important issue of the day in public education.
- He blamed President Obama.
- He thinks Donald Trump should follow his lead and make bullying transgender kids part of his campaign to win the White House.
- He intends to stoke irrational fears about transgender kids in his continuing crusade to further underfund neighborhood public schools by passing a private schools voucher scheme.
- He called bathroom use the biggest education issue since the Supreme Court barred government-sponsored prayer in public schools. Never mind the fact that children are still allowed to pray in school.
- He called the Obama administration’s move a “come and take it moment.” No, seriously, he did.
- He said President Obama is blackmailing Texas.
Later in the day White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was asked about Patrick’s comments:
— POLITICO (@politico) May 13, 2016
The Texas Legislature will convene again in January. Legislators will have to decide if they want to spend their time stoking irrational fears about transgender individuals or instead make sure public schools are adequately funded. Dan Patrick has already made his choice.