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Education Policy

Fair Funding for the Common Good

A child’s future should not depend on his or her heritage, parents’ income or neighborhood. Our sense of justice insists that America be the land of opportunity where all citizens are considered equal, that wherever a student comes from or lives he or she should have the opportunity to succeed.

All children must have access to quality education. How we carry this out has led to an ongoing debate. There are still people who have difficulty accepting that access should be relatively equal for all children. But we can have a strong public school system that provides an excellent education for all children. We can and we must.

COVID-19 Education Policy News

Policy Primer: Ensuring Education Equity During and After COVID-19, IDRA’s living document listing policies to preserve and promote educational equity:

  • Policies to Support Learning through Summer and the 2020-21 School Year
  • Budget and Policy Information for School Districts in State Legislative Sessions
  • Linked Resources and Tools for Ensuring Equity in COVID-19 Responses

Issue Brief – Cutting Public School Relief Funds to Subsidize Private Schools – An Analysis of How the Department of Education’s Equitable Services Rule Will Harm Texas Students and School Districts

Policy Updates – IDRA is releasing policy updates for schools regarding COVID-19 each Friday in our Learning Goes On eNews (sign up free). See a log of the updates here in English and in Spanish.

IDRA Letter to U.S. Congress Urging Education Equity in Next Stimulus Package, July 27, 2020

Joint Letters

How to Submit Public Comments to the U.S. Department of Education. Plus see our sample letter on the dangers of not including undocumented students in CARES Act relief


IDRA Fair Funding Policy Issues for Texas

Currently, Texas has a two-tiered, unjust public school system that provides poor or mediocre education for most children and excellent education for a select few.

Until the backwards steps in the early 2000s, 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 crippling our schools. The Texas Legislature made significant improvements in 2019, but the state is not where it needs to be.

IDRA Stands

  • All state and local aid made available for public schools should be funded through equalized formulas.
  • Efforts to reduce recapture must be done equitably.
  • State aid for students served in bilingual education or compensatory education programs should be increased to 40% of regular program costs.

Why?

The quality of children’s education should not be determined by the neighborhood where they happen to live. In the context of global competition, excellent schools are needed for all students – not good schools for a few and mediocre ones for the rest. The research is clear: educational resources matter, especially for low-income and English learner (EL) students. Research indicates that compensatory education and EL education costs in Texas average about 40% over regular program costs. However, over 35 years ago, the state set funding far below recommended levels for those students, and those funding formulas remain unchanged.

Infographic: Texas State Divestment of Education – The Texas Constitution requires the State to provide education for all students. But state funding has dropped, not risen. During the last almost two decades, the state has reduced its contribution from 54% in 2000 to 36% in 2018. See printable infographic (PDF).

Policy Brief: Fair and Essential Education Funding Requires State Investment

Bilingual Education Funding


Student Video

Testimony and Statements

Statement: New Texas School Finance Proposals Are a Start, But There is Still Work to Be Done to Ensure Fair Funding for All Students

Infographic: 7 Things to Ensure School Finance Equity

Video and Text: Without Increased Resources for English Learners, Texas Compromises Education for One-fifth of Students, Invited testimony of IDRA presented for the House Public Education Committee on the recommendations of the Texas Commission on Public School Finance – Morgan Craven, J.D., National Director of Policy, February 13, 2019

Testimony: Equity and Meaningful Educational Opportunity for All

Testimony: Equity Matters for All Schoolchildren

Summary of Comprehensive Texas School Finance Bill

Letter: Education Groups Push State Leaders to Invest in High-Quality Public Education for All Children

Statement: Fair Funding is Nonnegotiable – Texas Must Have Excellent Schools for All

In School Finance Decision, the Poor People Have Lost Again

Bilingual Education Funding

Policy Brief: Most English Learners Would Be Excluded from the Proposed Dual Language Weight 

Bilingual Allotment Data Dashboard: IDRA created this data dashboard to show scenarios of how increasing the bilingual education allotment will impact schools within each Texas House or Senate district.

Testimony: Without Increased Resources for English Learners, Texas Compromises Education for One-fifth of Students, February 13, 2019

Testimony: Keep Spending Guidelines for Bilingual and Comp Ed Funding, April 25, 2019


News Dashboard

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IDRA Texas School Finance news dashboard for curated news and resources during the 2019 legislative session.

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Media Stories

New Report: Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card, Education Law Center, 2018

Radio: Explaining School Finance: How Does Texas Fund Public Education?, Ryan Poppe, Texas Public Radio, August 4, 2017

Video: School finance and opportunity: The law and the road ahead, American Enterprise Institute, February 13, 2017

Online Story: Business Group’s Report Says Broken Education System Will Sink Texas Economy, Bekah McNeel, The Rivard Report, January 26, 2017

Online Story: In school finance decision, the poor people have lost again, David Hinojosa, Texas Tribune, June 14, 2016

Video: Conversation: Albert Kauffman and David Hinojosa on Texas School Finance, NowCastSA, May 18, 2016

Print Story: Texas gets ‘F’ in school funding report, Ericka Mellon, Houston Chronicle, March 16, 2016


Resource Highlights

Podcast: Key Issues in the Texas School Funding Trial

IDRA’s initiative, Fair Funding Now! for Texas Education

Low Funding for Educating ELLs Affects Students Across Texas – Symposium Proceedings

Principles for Fair Funding for the Common Good

Testimony: Equity and Meaningful Educational Opportunity for All
Invited Testimony of IDRA – Presented by David Hinojosa, J.D., National Director of Policy, before the Texas School Finance Commission, March 2018

Texas Divestment in Public Education – The State of Texas has reduced its share of public education spending during the last decade from 49% in 2007 to 41% in 2017. These state cuts to education and increases in property values have resulted in local communities footing the bill for K-12 public schools. And in 2016, Texas received a D on a national school finance report with Texas ranking only 45th in the country. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Education Groups Push State Leaders to Invest in High Quality Public Education for All Children – At the start of the 2017 special session, a diverse collective of education groups with hundreds of thousands of members across Texas called on state leaders to enact positive school finance reform that ensures each and every child in every neighborhood public school has access to the resources and opportunities they need to succeed both inside and outside of the classroom.

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Know the Issue

Quality education is a foundation of American ideals. Knowing the issue is a key place to start. Why Fair Funding...

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Penny Power

How strong is your local penny of tax for schools compared to your neighbors across Texas? As the state continues...

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Fair Funding for the Common Good – Resources

Reference Information on Fair Funding for the Common Good Testimony: Equity and Meaningful Educational Opportunity for All Invited Testimony of...

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Fair Funding Now!

In the spring of 2011, Texas lawmakers cut $6.4 billion for public education. They left the rainy day fund untapped. And given the...

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Texas Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition vs. Michael Williams, et al., Court Case

In 2011, the largest school finance case in the state’s history, Texas Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition vs. Williams, was...

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Principles for Fair Funding for the Common Good

To help focus on the reforms that may be included in upcoming school reform plans, IDRA uses a set of...

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