Education Policy

Ensuring Fair School Funding for All Students

All students deserve to go to excellent, well-funded schools.

Policies that base funding on community wealth and ignore the real costs of educating all students hurt everyone, especially students of color, students from families with limited incomes, and students who require additional programs, supports and services. 

Learn more about IDRA’s work to ensure fair school funding for all students below.

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Since its founding, IDRA has worked to make sure schools are funded fairlyUnfortunately, we continue to have funding systems that benefit some students more than others. Students who live in communities that are able to raise a lot of money through property taxes often have more resources for school buildings, high-quality teachers, counselors and learning materials. Their fellow students who live in poorer districts – because of a history of racial segregation and intentionally harmful housing and economic policies – do not have access to the same important resources.  

IDRA supports families, communities, and students – particularly students from families with limited incomes, students of color, English learners, and others – who demand access to greatwell-funded schools. We advocate sustainable policies that accurately identify the cost of education for all students and fund all schools fairly. 

Learn more about IDRA’s policy recommendations for Texas.


Resources 

Changing Policy

HB 59 Strips Schools of the Local Funding They Need for Equitable and Adequate Education – IDRA Testimony against House Bill 59, Submitted by Chloe Latham Sikes, Ph.D., before House Ways & Means Committee, April 12, 2021

Educational Institutions Need Protected State Funding – IDRA comments by Dr. Chloe Latham Sikes submitted to House Appropriations, Re: Public Education and Higher Education; and to Senate Finance, Re: Public Education and Higher Education, February 22, 2021

Texas Must Fulfill its Funding Promises to Public Schools – IDRA Policy Priorities for Texas Legislative Session (English)(Español), December 17, 2020

IDRA Principles of Fair Funding for the Common Good 

Hispanic Education Coalition Outlines Federal Appropriations Priorities for Fiscal Year 2021: U.S. House • U.S. Senate

Summary of Texas School Finance Reforms: 2019 

Testimony: Ensuring Equity and a Meaningful Education for All Students 

Acting on Research and Data 

How Texas Schools Are Funded – And Why that Matters to Collective Success – Issue Brief, By Chloe Latham Sikes, Ph.D., August 2022

Summary of Model School Finance Legislation 

Infographic: Texas State Divestment of Education

Expert Analysis and Testimony in the Texas Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition vs. Michael Williams, et al., court case

Policy Brief: Fair and Essential Education Funding Requires State Investment

White Paper: The Cost of Inequity in Education 

Book: Texas School Finance Reform: An IDRA Perspective 

Engaging Communities

Joint Testimony by the Texas Postsecondary Advocates Coalition (PAC): Texas Interim Charge 4, Questions 1, 4, 6: Digital Divide, September 1, 2020

Coalition Letter to State Leaders About Investing in Education 

IDRA’s Texas School Finance news dashboard

Communicating Effectively 

Why Some San Antonio Students Want an End to School Policing, by Camille Phillips, Texas Public Radio, July 9, 2020  

Podcast: A History of School Funding in Texas 

Op-ed: No Place for Complacency in Educating Poor Children 

For more resources, see IDRA’s Fair Funding for Common Good site. 


Keeping the Public in Public Education

Public funds should remain in public schools, with oversight from local communities.

Policies that funnel much-needed resources to charter schools, private school vouchers, and other similar programs hurt traditional public schools and the students and families they serve.  

Traditional public schools receive public funds, are operated by publicly-elected school boards, and should be held accountable by the communities, families and students they serve. Public governance, engagement and accountability are critical parts of ensuring strong schools for all students.  

Unfortunately, there is a growing movement to invest in charter schools, voucher programs, education savings account, and other programs that funnel money away from the public schools that are open to all students, toward privately-run schools and individual families.  

IDRA collaborates with students, families, and other advocacy organizations to protect and improve traditional public schools. Our research and advocacy aim to challenge the narratives that lead to bad policies and practices that harm public school students. 


Resources on Keeping the Public in Public Education

Changing Policy

New Charters Must Still Be Accountable to the State Board of Education and Communities, IDRA testimony against Senate Bill 28, submitted by Chloe Latham Sikes, Ph.D., to the Senate Education Committee, March 25, 2021

Joint Statement: Increase the Transparency and Efficiency of Charter Schools in Texas

Texas: Joint legislative agenda to make every dollar count for all Texas students, signed by IDRA and 20 other education and policy organizations, January 2021

TLEC Testimony, Is Texas Getting a Good Return on Charter Schools?, Presented before the House Public Education Committee (Special Session), August 8, 2017

Statement: Vouchers: Unwise, Unworkable & Unfair

Acting on Research and Data 

Analysis: Cutting Public School Relief Funds to Subsidize Private Schools

Study: Texas Charter School System Suffers Low Graduation Rates

Infographic: Charter School Study – Pomp and Poor Circumstances

Engaging Communities

Texas: Letter to Texas Education Commissioner re 2020 Charter Amendments 

Texas: Joint Letter to TEA Regarding Implementation of the Common Charter Application and Charter Waiting List

Texas: Joint Statement: Increase the Transparency and Efficiency of Charter Schools in Texas

Georgia: Joint Letter: Opposition to Georgia’s Proposed Expansion of School Vouchers 

Communicating Effectively 

Bill targets Texas charter school admissions, Austin American-Statesman, March 21, 2019

Sistema escolar chárter con tasas bajas de graduación. Agencia de Educación de Texas, Edelia Hernández, El Mañana, January 11, 2018

For more resources, see IDRA’s Public Funding for Public Schools site. 

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