Some people may wonder why funding schools fairly is an issue we need to talk about. They may ask: Aren’t schools okay now? Yes and no. Our current system of funding and equity is not damaged. But changes adopted in 2005 re-inserted some inequitable features into the system that need to be modified. It has provided more funding for poor, rural and urban schools than ever before, but unequal funding that had disappeared in 1993, was brought back.
Compounding the problem is the state’s failure to fund its share of school costs has caused the quality of schools children attend to suffer, based on the wealth of their community.
This is bad for Texas. What’s worse, policymakers could take us backwards even farther. Some proposals could further dilute equity, others could cut divert funding for bilingual education and other special populations, and others could still divert limited public school funds to private schools through vouchers or more funding for private charter schools.
We can do better. When our state policymakers ensure a system of fair funding for schools, it sends the message that indeed every child is capable and is worthy of receiving the best quality education. With fair funding everybody benefits by having schools that are excellent. Excellent schools are not just for the families with the greatest financial advantages.