Next-to-Last Place Ribbon of Honor: Cheapistas in Denial

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Have you noticed that the same jokers that are telling us our public schools are inadequate are the same jokers that have inadequately funded our schools for decades ($5.4 billion most recently in Texas)? In fact, the cheapistas want to wear the fact that Texas is next to last in school spending as a ribbon of honor (aka efficiency). They don’t even make next to last place ribbons. I have heard this meme from the Florida peeps also. They even deny we have a broken school finance systemJudges have disagreed with them repeatedly… How does Texas stack up in education spending compared to other states in 2012-13? Excerpts from TexasISD:

Funding for Texas public schools has plunged by $1,062 per student, measured in spending per average daily attendance (ADA), since the Legislature slashed $5.4 billion from the public education budget two years ago…

Texas now ranks 49th among the states and the District of Columbia in that category… Only Arizona and Nevada spend less per child on education. The figures are based on state budgetary data.

During the current school year (2012-13), per pupil spending in Texas is $8,400, more than $3,000 less than the national average of $11,455. Two years ago, Texas spent $9,462 per child during 2010-11, the last school year before the deep budget cuts.

The average annual teacher’s salary in Texas also has decreased by $528 since 2010-11. The average Texas salary is now $48,110, more than $8,000 below the national average of $56,383. Texas now ranks 38th in that category.

“The state doesn’t need to raise taxes to restore education funding,” Haecker added. “We have an $8.8 billion surplus and a Rainy Day Fund balance of $11.8 billion, and there is no good reason for the Legislature to wait another year or two for a court order instead of restoring cuts that cost 25,000 teachers and school employees their jobs, forced students to learn in thousands of overcrowded classrooms and eliminated funding for pre-K and dropout prevention programs that keep students on track.”

Considering these disparities, the NAACP and other organizations recently held a press conference at the Texas capitol to encourage the Texas Legislature to fully restore funding and adjust for enrollment growth and inflation. See the article below that appeared in the The Villager. Note: I was misquoted. I don’t believe in tracking in the traditional sense. We now have datasets where we can track students from Pre-K into higher education. What I spoke about at the NAACP press conference was our ability to adopt a new accountability system for the 21st century (and perhaps for school finance) that is a multiple measures approach (See Community-Based Accountability).

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Categories: Community-Based Accountability, School Finance

Author:Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig is currently an Associate Professor of Educational Policy and Planning and African and African Diaspora Studies (by courtesy) at the University of Texas at Austin.

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  1. Next-to-Last Place Ribbon of Honor: Cheapistas in Denial ← NPE News Briefs - April 28, 2013

    [...] Click here for the entire article. [...]

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