Quick History School Finance in Texas – Podcast Episode 196 | Classnotes Podcast 196

Albert Cortez, Morgan Craven, Al KauffmanClassnotes Podcast (October 11, 2019). For schools to successfully educate their students, fair funding is essential. Five decades ago, a group of parents in Texas launched a court case that impacted the country when the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in San Antonio ISD v. Rodríguez. The disappointing result also led to IDRA’s founding. Since then, IDRA has stood at the forefront of school finance reform efforts in Texas and served as a resource for grassroots and legal organizations involved in school funding litigation in several other states. While much has improved in Texas, the neighborhoods where students happen to live continue to markedly impact the quality of their education.

In this first of four episodes on school finance, Morgan Craven, J.D., IDRA national director of policy, sits down with two other school finance experts: Dr. Albert Cortez, who led IDRA’s policy work and served as an expert witness in numerous school finance trials until his retirement in 2015, and Al Kauffman, J.D., who was the lead litigator for MALDEF and now is a professor at St. Mary’s Law School. In this episode, they give a quick history of school finance in Texas. (Note: IDRA’s founder, Dr. José A. Cárdenas, literally wrote the textbook, Texas School Finance Reform: An IDRA Perspective.)

Show length: 29:51 min.


Texas School Finance Reform: An IDRA Perspective

IDRA’s Fair Funding for the Common Good website

In school finance decision, the poor people have lost again, David Hinojosa, J.D., Texas Tribune, June 14, 2016

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

The Latest Texas School Finance Equity and Adequacy Court Case – Round Six Texas Taxpayers and Student Fairness Coalition et al vs. Williams, by Dr. Albert Cortez, IDRA Newsletter, 2014

On school funding, the needed next steps will be hard, Houston Chronicle, May 13, 2016.

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Show Notes

  • Morgan introduces the four-part podcast series on school finance.

  • Al shares an overview of activism and litigation that have impacted school funding in Texas over the years. He also addresses the Supreme Court view in San Antonio ISD v. Rodríguez that education was not a fundamental federal right.

  • Al talks about the courageous families, students, and school districts involved in these court cases.

  • Albert recounts the major legislative and policy developments coming out of the activism and litigation on school funding, including the role played by IDRA.

  • Albert discusses the development of the recapture system for equalizing school funding across Texas.

  • Albert and Al explain the importance of intentional community involvement in education reform, and the need to overcome the unfairness and racism built into the state’s system of school funding.

  • Morgan reinforces that even today, very few people are given clear data to understand how school finance works in Texas.

  • Albert talks about funding weights that were set up in 1984, and the impact they had on school equity for different groups of students.

  • Al and Albert describe the moment when they personally realized the importance of achieving fair school funding.