Today the Senate Finance Committee heard testimony on the importance of investing in public education.
When District Court Judge John Dietz found Texas’ school finance system to be unconstitutional last year, he did so on the grounds that Texas fails to adequately invest in public schools and the available resources are not equitably distributed. One key result of this unfair system is that the growing population of low-income students is falling behind.
There are several important factors we need to consider when we talk about ensuring fair and equitable investments for schools, which will help to close the achievement gap low-income students experience:
- Due to drastic cuts in education by the Legislature in 2011, per student spending today is currently $631 below pre-recession levels
- The number of low-income students is growing at twice the rate of the overall student population
- Low-income students now make up 60 percent of Texas’ total student population
Five million students in Texas’ public schools aren’t getting the quality education they will need to be future Texas leaders and form a competitive workforce. The Legislature must act to adequately and equitably invest in public education before considering tax cuts. Texas has the revenue available to make sufficient investments for the education of all children, and to increase the academic success of low-income students.
Click here to read my testimony as given on February 9, 2015.