2015 IDRA Factsheet
The quality of any child’s education should not be based on a child’s family’s income or the neighborhood in which they happen to live.
- All funding cuts adopted in Texas in 2011 should be fully re-instated, with additional increases provided to cover costs of inflation and compliance with all new state mandates.
- All state aid provided to public schools should be funded through property wealth equalized and cost efficient formulas. Target Revenue should be terminated and those funds be distributed through the equalization formulae.
- Facilities funding should be integrated into equalized funding formulas and not continue to be based on an “if funds are available” approach.
Texas Needs Excellent Schools for All
The state is constitutionally responsible for providing an education to all school-age Texans. In the new context of global competition, we need excellent schools for all students rather than good schools for a few and mediocre schools for the rest. To give all students a fair chance to succeed and meet state education standards, the state must ensure equity and excellence for all.
Fair Funding Gives Everyone a Chance to Succeed and Contribute
Texans agree that a child’s future should not depend on his or her heritage, parents’ income, race, or neighborhood (Texas Lyceum, 2013; Montemayor, 2014). Currently however, Texas has a two-tiered, unjust public school system that provides poor or second-rate education for many children and an excellent education for a select few. All children must have access to quality education. But how we carry this out has led to an ongoing debate.
Until recently, many schools were beginning to reap the benefits from the state’s earlier commitment to equalize education funding for all of its children. Student achievement improved, taxpayers were more equally sharing the cost of paying for public schools, and businesses were seeing the results of better-prepared graduates.
After a 12-year span of more equitable school funding, changes were made that weakened the system, privileging a few children to the detriment of many. This was followed by huge unnecessary funding cuts that are still short-changing many of our schools. Frustration with the state’s lack of action has resulted in a new (and sixth) legal challenge to the Texas public school funding system. The court ruled that the current funding system is “constitutionally inadequate, unsuitable and financially inefficient.”
We can have a strong public school system that provides an excellent education for all children, and it can happen either through a court order or (preferably) through state policymakers who develop the will and exercise the courage to do the right thing for all students.
Children and communities across Texas have been waiting for fair funding for more than half a century. The time for debating equity and excellence is over. The time for action is now.
2013 Texas Lyceum Poll Statewide Results (2013).
Montemayor, A.M. Texas Parents and Civil Rights Groups Call for High Quality Curriculum, statement (Jan 23. 2014).
- IDRA’s Fair Funding for the Common Good
- Infographics Texas School Funding Equity Gap and State Ranking in Education Funding
- IDRA’s initiative, Fair Funding Now! for Texas Education