Statement by María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Ph.D., IDRA Executive Director
(June 21, 2005) For over three decades, Texas educators and communities have fought for fairness in education funding. From the earliest major school funding lawsuits, the pressing need for equity for all students has been at the heart of it all. But over the last decade, the state government has reduced its share of funding from 52 percent to 38 percent, causing the quality of education to suffer. As a consequence, in 2004, the Texas school finance system was ruled unconstitutional because it “fails to provide an adequate, suitable education.” The court also ruled that there is a significant gap of more than 10 points in educational achievement between economically disadvantaged students and non-economically disadvantaged students.
Today, Texas legislators are convening for a special session to focus on funding our schools. Meaningful school finance legislation must fairly collect and distribute funding to the 4.4 million children in Texas’ public schools.
In order to provide meaningful school finance reform that will improve our school finance system, close the educational achievement gap and meet the standards set by the courts, the Legislature must:
- Keep and improve equitable funding between property rich and property poor school districts.
- Substantially fund facilities construction so that school districts can provide a nurturing and supportive learning environment for our school children.
- Keep and increase funding “weights” to meet the cost of educating school children who are English language learners, economically disadvantaged, gifted and talented, and/or who are disabled.
As state leaders reconvene, their preeminent consideration must be that every child receives what he or she needs to be a successful student and that all school districts and communities get equal return for equal tax effort. Texas cannot afford an excellent system for some and a minimally adequate system for the rest.
We can have excellent education for all Texas school children! The future of Texas depends on it.
Media Contact: Christie L. Goodman, APR 210-444-1710; firstname.lastname@example.org
IDRA is an independent, private non-profit organization, directed by María Robledo Montecel, Ph.D., dedicated to creating schools that work for all children. As a vanguard leadership development and research team for more than three decades, IDRA has worked with people to create self-renewing schools that value and empower all children, families and communities. IDRA conducts research and development activities, creates, implements and administers innovative education programs and provides teacher, administrator, and parent training and technical assistance.